Preparing for My First Conference: NACADA 2016

by Olivia Miller
@olive9124

In two weeks I will be heading to Atlanta for my first conference, the national NACADA conference. NACADA is the National Academic Advising Association and I am excited for everything – the sessions, the workshops, the extra activities and of course all that I will be able to bring back to my office and coworkers. Today I spent some time combing through all of the sessions to see what stood out to me as ones that I plan on attending, and it was more difficult than I thought. I felt like that one meme – “do all the things!” except I was thinking “go to all the sessions!” I am excited for the variety of sessions and what I will be learning, focusing on my interests (international and first-generation students), areas of weakness (veterans, transfer students, mental health), as well as areas outside of my comfort zone (religion and students).
Not only am I looking forward to the variety of sessions, but I am also looking forward to the other opportunities. Academic advising and NACADA is now my professional home, I want to learn as much as I can so I am also planning on attending the new member orientation, the region 6 meeting as well as the poster sessions to see how I can grow. However, I am even more excited to be taking part in the 5k fun run and walk that they are putting on for participants. I am currently training for my first half marathon, so doing this will keep me on schedule, as well as meet other SA Pro runners.

Although I am excited about all of this, I do feel overwhelmed. I am an introvert, and conferences like this do make me nervous. There will be a lot of people, and I feel like I will have to put myself out there, which is not a bad thing, but not something I am comfortable with doing all the time. For those of you who have gone to conferences, what tips do you have for surviving (and thriving) for your first one? What are some of your favorite memories? And lastly, how do you choose your presentation sessions? If any of you are heading to Atlanta for NACADA 2016, let me know and connect on twitter at olive9124.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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