The time has arrived for the 2015 APA convention! I look forward to the convention and have attended most years since I started graduate school. A lot of time, energy and excitement goes into my preparation for the conference. In 2013, I had the brilliant idea that I should stay up really late all week before the convention, thinking I could get my body on Hawaii time. I was hoping to avoid melting into a puddle of exhaustion during the Division 17 EC meeting the first night of the convention. I am not sure how well my plan succeeded, because I recall walking deliriously along the beach back to my hotel late that night. Despite being tired, it was a pretty amazing view.
I look forward to the convention, even though I know I will be busy with meetings, attending sessions, and catching up with colleagues during social hours. I usually come home from the convention exhausted and drained. But after a day or two of rest, I find that I am energized and reinvigorated. I have fresh ideas that I want to bring into my teaching, new research projects to plan, and am filled with the joy of renewed friendships.
I am always a bit nervous before convention. I wonder how my presentation(s) will go. I wonder if I will get lost in a new city. I always worry that I will forget something crucial and end up over-packing. This year, I found myself worrying what the tone of the conference will be like, given the recent release of the Hoffman report. Will all other topics be drowned out by conversations about the report and its implications? Or will the convention center echo with emptiness reminiscent of the convention in New Orleans the year after Hurricane Katrina?
Colleagues and students sometimes ask me why I attend so many conferences. One of the reasons is that I cherish the opportunity to connect with the profession and my colleagues. It reminds me that my work is bigger than any one job. It is my career. I grew up in a working class family, with parents who pushed my brothers and me to get as much education as we could. I know what a blessing it is to do work that I find meaningful–to get paid to fulfill my calling.
So here I am– anxious and excited, but ready to learn and grow. I am not sure what the next few days have in store for me, but I can’t wait to take it all in.
Britney G Brinkman, Ph.D.