I’ll be keeping an online journal during SfN 2017, detailing the experiences of a first-timer. This is the fifth entry, an overview of my thoughts and takeaways
As a first timer at SfN I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of things. I felt it appropriate to close this journal outlining those those lessons for future conferences.
- Pace yourself
It’s important to realize that you’re not going to be able to see and do everything at the conference. I spent the first few days trying to get to all of the events, symposiums, posters, lectures that I could and it just wasn’t sustainable. I was also commuting from Baltimore every day, getting up early to catch the 6.10a train down to DC, so by the end of the day today I was pretty wiped. Just try to not stretch yourself too thin.
- Use the maps in the app to find your way around
Yes I got lost, I talked about it in my first journal entry. I was able to laugh it off because it was the first day and I was taking some time to explore the convention center. However, if that had happened in the middle of rushing from one thing to the next I would have lost valuable time! So, don’t get lost.
- Bring business cards and hand them out
I have business cards but I was not aggressive enough in handing them around. There were a few instances where I would meet with someone, discuss some common interests or shared research experiences and then just walk away with limited resources for remaining in touch. I regret that. In the future I’ll be sure to give them to just about anyone I talk to, just to be safe.
- Ask questions
You’re not supposed to know everything and showing that you don’t know everything is not a weakness. Also, by asking questions I was able to get some exposure to subfields of neuroscience that are new and exciting! Through that exposure I have gained insights into neuroscience research I never would have been exposed to and I hope to start pursuing some different research techniques moving forward!
- Use social media to your advantage
I never had twitter until I became an official blogger for SfN17, but boy am I glad I joined for the meeting! I was able to hear about interesting events and symposiums through the platform and managed to help others learn about new research too!
Blogging on behalf of the Society for Neuroscience at the annual meeting this year was an honor and I’m so glad to have been a part of it! While it led to many late nights trying to write and self-edit, it was a fantastic learning experience in quick-turnaround on casual writing for the scientific community. Also, I hope this running journal can provide insight into what it’s like for a novice to attend the annual meeting and maybe people in the future can learn from my mistakes. I left the conference reinvigorated and excited to get back in the lab where I can hopefully collect data to present at next year’s conference.
I want to, once again, thank everyone at Neuronline for this amazing opportunity. It was an experience I’ll never forget!