I thought I had done a good job researching what to expect and do for a huge conference like ALA, but it did not prepare me for the reality. I had a wonderful time, meeting people and learning a few things at some of the sessions. I found that I did not make it all the sessions I had planned so carefully. One day, I only went to one because I was so exhausted, I didn’t have the brain power. Next time, I know that I need to schedule breaks in between to eat and rest; otherwise I would spend the day starving. Conference food is way overpriced and I am a broke grad student so I’m glad I at least brought snack bars with me.
I also realized that it was hard to tell what sessions would be crowded and what ones wouldn’t be. The session I wanted to attend the most was so packed, people were sitting out in the hallway and there was no way I would get in to hear what was going on. That made me realize I needed to be flexible in my plans. I also felt like I wasn’t very successful in actually going to the sessions I wanted to, because either I couldn’t get there on time, or it wasn’t what I thought it would be. My biggest success at the conference though, was meeting people. The first day I was feeling intimidated, but by the afternoon, I had found some people I follow on Twitter and hung out with them. What’s great is that I felt comfortable talking to my Twitter friends because we have already built a rapport online, so it was easy to get along in person. Additionally, they introduced me to other people that they knew, so it makes networking so much easier! Yay for the internet!
The highlights of the conference though was meeting my HackLibSchool colleagues in person and witness Daniel Ransom be entered and CHOSEN as the wild card, participant in Battle Decks 2011. The conference was a great time and I am very happy I went. I am definitely saving up for next year.