Last weekend, I had the opportunity to present at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Dialect Society, as well as attend the other meetings of the Linguistic Society of America annual meeting in Austin, TX. There were a lot of really awesome things about the whole thing.
First off, I feel like I had a great experience giving my presentation. I presented Thursday afternoon in the session called “Vowels, Vowels, Vowels” which was chaired by Erik Thomas, and saw other presentations by Charlie Farrington & Tyler Kendall, Matthew Gordon, and Michol Hoffman. There were about 30 people in the room, and I could name about half of them. In fact, while summarizing previous research, I realized that half the people I cited were sitting right there. Afterwards, I had a lot of discussion and great feedback. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
During the course of the next several days, I made a point to introduce myself to people. Networking is an important part of going to conferences, and I haven’t really taken that opportunity in the past. So I was able to meet several of the greats and tell them how much I enjoyed some of the things they’ve written. I also met some grad students that have similar interests as me. I feel a lot more connected to other researchers than I did before.
Going into this conference, I knew I wanted to give it everything I had. I got funding from UGA for the first time, both through the Linguistics Program and the Graduate School, and I wanted to make sure the money I received went to a good cause. The conference was busy, but I attended as many presentations as I could. In fact, I hardly had time to eat, and ended up only eating one meal a day during the four days. I actually lost four pounds attending this conference! I also stayed at an Airbnb for the first time, and I didn’t want to take the bus all the way to the apartment when I knew there were things to do at the conference. I ended up attending 35 presentations and visited about a dozen posters. It made for four very long and busy days, but they were extremely productive.
I also made an effort to be active on Twitter during the conference, but I have a separate blog post about that which you can read here.
Overall, a fantastic experience. The best I could have hoped for, and the best conference I’ve been to.