It's Conference Season...

It's Conference Season...

...and since it is conference season, there are a large number of SA professionals who have ventured to ACPA/NIRSA, while thousands more are headed to Orlando this week for TPE/NASPA (tired of acronyms yet?). Needless to say, it is an exciting time of year; especially if you are one of the lucky individuals who get to travel to one of these conferences. Depending on the person, the particular benefit of attendance can vary. Some get the most out of the networking opportunities, while others truly enjoy the ability to learn about best practices at other institutions or exciting research projects. For some, it might be the perfect excuse to get out of the office and head to a new place (like Las Vegas). As a TPE campus ambassador, I know it is an exciting/nervewracking time for aspiring student affairs professionals who are spending this week preparing for important interviews. As a side note, good luck to all of you in your career pursuits! Be authentically you. Remember these words:

"Be Yourself. Everyone Else is Taken."-Oscar Wilde

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." -Dr. Seuss

Anyways, what about the rest of us who have not been able to attend any (or some) of these conferences? How do we ensure that we are not missing out on some crucial information about the field? Luckily for us, when it comes to sharing information real-time, the world of social media has created a monster of its own. This past week, if you are connected on Twitter with professionals and graduates in the field, then you probably saw a number of informative tweets about everything from the opening banquet to specific details about a particular session. Even if you aren't very connected with others out there, you can search the conference hashtag and see a flow of informative tweets. It is amazing how much great information is shared throughout the day of a conference. Therefore, lack of attendance does NOT keep you from getting something out of the experience, even though you may be thousands of miles away in an office.

#HowtoStayConnected

I am not telling you to stalk the conference hashtag like a vulture. I am simply shedding light on one simple fact: people are sharing great resources from these conferences on Twitter! If you do not want to miss out completely, you can take advantage of this social media platform and stay informed. For example, as a graduate student, I was fortunate to attend the Leadership Educators Institute in Columbus, OH this past December. Therefore, I will not be attending TPE or NASPA, but I intend to leverage the power of social networking to remain connected to the conference. If you are also not attending these conferences and this seems like something you would be interested in, I recommend you log on to Twitter a couple times a day and get a bird's eye view of the proceedings.

On the other hand, If you are not on Twitter already... 

 "Jump on the train before it leaves the station, because it's leaving with or without you!" 
 
Kyle Hickman
@kyle_a_hickman

Student Affairs - the First Years

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