This ASA guide is a sneak peek of some our upcoming newsletter content:
Conferences can be intimidating for even the most seasoned researchers, let alone first-time attendees. Below are some tips—a list of what not to do at conferences and what to do instead—that we have put together from our experiences as graduate student conference attendees.
Don’t fill every time slot with an activity. Instead, give yourself time to rest. Conference burnout is real!
Don’t stay in every night. Instead, attend section special receptions and dinners.
Don’t only mingle with people you know. Instead, reach out to faculty who inspire you in advance via email and plan to meet for coffee. In our experiences, professors are more than willing to meet with students during conferences.
Don’t drone on and on about your dissertation. Instead, practice your elevator pitch before the conference.
Don’t only attend sessions in your subfield. Instead, attend sessions on topics that interest you but are different from those you study.
Don’t sweat it if you can’t book a room at the conference hotel. Staying at the conference hotel is preferred, but if that doesn’t work out, stay in an Airbnb in a quirky nearby neighborhood.
Don’t carry around the paper program. Instead, utilize the ASA app to help you keep track of talks and events you want to attend. To download the app, click here.
Don’t forget to enjoy the city. Instead, explore famous landmarks, do touristy things, and eat local cuisine. For some ideas on things to do in Philadelphia, click here.
Don’t wear uncomfortable shoes. Or if you do, make sure to keep a comfortable pair in your bag for foot emergencies.
Don’t worry if you are worried. Conferences can be anxiety-provoking experiences, especially if you are a graduate student who is attending for the first time. It’s perfectly normal to feel awkward, anxious, or stressed…everyone feels this way at points during a conference.
· Advice for Attending Academic Conferences
· How to Give a Fabulous Academic Presentation
· How to Work the Conference
· The 6 Ways You’re Acting like a Grad Student (And how that’s killing you on the job market)
Lilla Pivnick is a rising fourth year graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin and the student representative to the Children and Youth section for 2018-2019.
Michela Musto (PhD, University of Southern California) is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research.