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13 April 2015 @ 11:57 pm
conferences, conferences, and birthdays  
it's like planes, trains, and automobiles but not the same at all..

i went to Chicago for the first time at the end of last month to present at the Association for Asian Studies 2015 conference, which was four days of intense networking. I learned that sure, it's important to not have an entirely terrible presentation, but more importantly it's best to ask interesting questions at every panel you go to. (i didn't, but i did try and raise my hand at least once a panel) Because not many people were going to show up to my 8am on Sunday panel to see me speak if they didn't already know me. But they might want to know me if I actually asked something interesting. And also I learned that there's no good reason to eat the frankly frightening canapes in the main ballroom when going to a sponsored organization gets you the pick of the nice cheeses. these are essential survival skills.

And I got to see my favorite people from my year in Japan! Which made everything better. We're sort of evil together, and yet also ridiculously awesome.

then this last weekend my own department, actually, my own graduate group, put on our first grad conference. and yes, I did kind of run the whole thing in one way or another as the conference chair, and yes i know how conceited that sounds. But I proposed the conference format, I suggested a keynote panel, I designed the programs and flyers and posters, I picked up the damn name tags, I wrangled the keynotes and wrote the funding letters and organized the catering. I created and updated the website. And I did have a lot of help from the other grads in our department to do all these things but I pulled all the threads together in every way. And felt a kind of vicious pleasure on Saturday night when everyone continued to come up to ME and say what an amazing job we did, and how much of a success it was (even though we still had another day to go).

now i just want to rest and recover and i'm having trouble going to sleep. but that's ok, i'm sure i'll get tired enough soon.

next up - I'm going to Kansas next weekend for my Grandfather's birthday. I keep forgetting to ask my mom if he's turning 98 or 99, but it's up there. Very far. After that I should be able to breathe for a bit.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there