What To Pack For Conferences: A Guide For Poor Post-Grads (Pete Kalu)
Are you a broke Post-Grad planning to travel to the 12th/13th October 2015 NWCDTP Conference?
Here’s some helpful tips on what to pack
A plug for the baths at bargain-basement hotels*. They often use a bath as a shower stall, but craftily, the bargain-basement hotels remove the plugs to prevent flooding by inconsiderate users. If you are not in that latter category, then pack a plug so you can have a real bath. (Whether you would want to be competing with the bargain-budget hotel’s insects, floating stray hairs, mould etc is another matter – perhaps this is one for the microbiologists)
Three spare vertebrae as your below-budget bed may be floppy as a sponge. I had always thought – probably influenced by the Princess & The Pea fairy tale – that ultra soft mattresses would be luxury. Turns out not to be true. Especially if that softness is the result of whacked out springs that spontaneously jiggle and, well, spring, all night.
Map to distinguish trees from woods: conferences bring you so close up to topics that you often lose the context of a particular paper. So a conceptual map – best memorize it or load into onto your Tablet though as it would be weird spreading an actual map out on your lap – is useful prior to heading into that intense session of cutting edge discoveries.
Zombie indicator – you never know when some subject is going to be revived from the dung heap of speculation. You thought the debate about the difference between Existentialism and The Absurd had died years ago? It’s back and the arguments are getting sulfurous again!
Bingo card (thanks to Michelle Green for this suggestion) – see Shit Academics Say ( @AcademicsSay ). It’s always fun keeping up with advanced hand waving habits: eg http://www.fontichiaro.com/activelearning/2014/02/26/academic-hand-gestures/ Try innovate a few of your own if you are feeling bold.
Open train ticket – conversations often go on for far longer that you expected when you get lucky at a conference and meet someone who really gets what you are into.
Set of mirrors – lots of reflecting is done at conferences. It is as well to be aware and equipped for this.
Microscope – to find the actual point being made by some speakers /papers. Read them careful –revolutions often begin in the (foot)notes of academic papers – see the current VW cars emissions scandal.
Smelling salts & beta blockers: to handle the two extremes – suffocatingly boring presentations and those that make your heart pound (most papers sit happily in the middle).
Spare seat in carpool car – in case open train ticket is not enough and you end up bonding so well you want to continue to talk all through the night.
Handkerchief to mop up tears of joy: finally someone is actually interested in your subject; actually maybe even more than one person.
Violin – for mournful music when the conference is sadly over.
*Disclaimer: A general description: no intention to reference any actual hotels; any name similarity is entirely coincidental.