SPSP = Society for Personality and Social Psychology
2011 = Year after 2010 and before 2012
SanAn = San Antonio
TX = Texas
..but what does it mean?
This blog concerns one of the top reasons to go to graduate school: Conferences.
In January 15-20 students and faculty from the Psychology department (including me) went to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology's annual conference. This year the conference was in San Antonio, TX. Ever been to a conference? Here are my top reasons to go:
1. Get a feel of what's happening in the field
The most prominent researchers also attend conferences. They present, they go to poster sessions, they talk about the research they're doing in the hallways.
2. Get inspired about your own research
There are no better places to get ideas and feedback on your ideas than conferences. Imagine a thousand bright minds under one roof and you can appreciate the extent to which you get inspired.
3. Meet new people
This is what most people call networking, I call it meeting people. "Networking" implies that we meet people only so that we can take advantage of their acquaintance later. Meeting people implies that we get to know each other, make friends and collaborators, and stay in touch.
4. Bond with people you already know
Nothing ties groups together like shared experiences do. Although all the social psychology graduate students are in one hallway, I rarely venture outside of my own office. Conferences offer opportunities to get to know my friends even better.
5. Travel to new places (or, take a little break)
I had never been to San Antonio. A lot of American history was written in the small city, and in between symposia and sessions we toured the city. Remember the Alamo!
The downsides to conferences are that they are time-consuming, often expensive (unless you present a poster or a paper), and you need another vacation once you come back from one. Nevertheless, the benefits clearly outweigh the costs!
Hoping you can all go to conferences,
The pictures below show:
1. A cropped view of the conference center
2. Key Note Speaker Malcom Gladwell
3. Kate Gilson and I in front of the Alamo
4. The San Antonio riverwalk at night