My Conference Top Three

by Dylan Cards
@drcards

This past month I was fortunate enough to go to my first two conferences as a professional. The first conference was a state housing conference called TACUHO and the other was a NASPA regional conference. At both conferences I was very fortunate to have different experiences, at one I was able to present on a topic and the other I won an award that my graduate institution nominated me for. I wanted to let you all in on my top three tips to have the best conference experience.
  1. Learn From Others- There are so many way to learn from others while at a conference. There are different sessions that you can go to that cover diverse topics that relate to the field of higher. While in sessions you can learn from the presenter, who is leading the session, but you can also learn from others who may bring a different perspective. I think being a presenter was also a great way for me to learn. From this experience I gained feedback from others about my topic and hearing how it relates to other campuses.
  2. Make Connections- One of the main points of the conference is to bring as many professionals together so they can grow and learn together. I think it is important to try and meet different colleagues and not just stick with the people you came with. This can be as simple as talking to someone new in the sessions you go to. The conference creates other social events at night to connect people, take advantage of these instead of just going to back to your room at night. With making connections, it is always important to have your trusty business cards with you and exchange those with others.
  3. Appreciate The Experience- With any professional development that you are having it is important to take full advantage of the opportunities. For me the opportunity to reconnect with my colleagues from my graduate institution was great experience and it was even more of an honor that they nominated me for an award. Another way to fully appreciate the experience is getting involved in the organization that is hosting the conference. There are multiple ways to help with the conference, many times they need people to help review program material and or keep time for sessions. Going to a conference it helps you appreciate the field you are in and those willing to teach you the knowledge they possess.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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