I’m writing this Monday night as I sit in my room. When making my travel plans, I had great expectations of finishing my last session today and then going off and being an ordinary tourist In San Francisco. But I am SOOOO tired. I suppose I could try to get my flight changed and arrive home tonight, but I don’t have the energy for it.
I started my day by carrying a backpack + tote bag full of books to the Exhibit Hall where a Post office was set up.
Yes, this conference is so big the USPS sets up a temporary post office! To pack the box and get through the line only took an hour, but there were two charming women from Louisiana in front of me and a verily once woman from the other LA behind me, so we passed the time in delightful conversation.
By the time I got out, I’d missed the first session I’d hoped to attend, but managed to get to the rest. I did two sessions after lunch, ending at 4 o’clock. I got myself a bowl of pho and walked home.
Reflecting on this experience, sitting here in the cool, calm of my room, I have learned some things about attending big conferences like this.
1. Pack as you go. If I’d known how many books I’d be receiving, I would have sent some home before Monday, rather than lugging them back to my room, then back again today. Better to ship just after you reach critical mass.
2. If you plan to do some sightseeing, better to arrive early to the exciting location and leave right when things end. We did this when part of my staff went to St. Louis for a Math conference. You are too tired at the end.
3. Bring business cards. Lots of people were handing them out and I had none.
4. Get you certificate of attendance when you register. I forgot to get mine until later today and when I went, they were all packed up. Now I have no proof of attendance in order to get the conference registration reimbursed.
5. Talk to everyone and anyone. I am an introvert by nature and I often feel uncomfortable talking to people, but I had a great time meeting new people I may never see again.
6. I have to attend the ALA Midwinter meeting in Boston in January. Although booking a room with Airbnb worked really well this time, I will book a room in the hotel nearest the convention center in Boston because I don’t have the clothes for Boston in January.