We asked fellow doctoral students for some tips on attending the SSWR conference. Here’s what they had to say:
Find out when the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are, and roundtables, in your area(s) of interest and attend. You’ll meet other scholars in your field and hear about the newest areas of research. Here’s the list of SIGs and the Schedules: https://secure.sswr.org/2019-conference-home/special-interest-groups/
Attend the membership meeting, Saturday afternoon at 5:45. This is a great place to learn about what’s going on in SSWR. Especially if you are a dues paying member, this is an important way to stay involved in the organization.
Attend the Doctoral Student Luncheon. Saturday, January 19 from 12:30 to 1:45. Lunch is provided for all doctoral students. Even if you didn't register ahead of time, you can still come! This is a great opportunity to meet fellow students and learn about all of the ways doctoral students can get involved with SSWR between conferences.
Attend sessions outside of your interest too! You never know who you may meet.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions in sessions or ask presenters afterwards. If you really enjoyed a session, follow up with the speakers via email after the conference.
There will be cocktail hours hosted by various schools on Friday evening. This is a great networking opportunity! This can definitely be intimidating, here are a few strategies to make it more comfortable:
Ahead of time, identify a goal for yourself whether it be a number of people you would like to introduce yourself to or a few individuals you would like to meet.
Consider using the question “What project are you working on now that is exciting you?” to start conversations.
Attend receptions with a “buddy” for a friendly face and accountability around your networking goals.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Conferences can be overwhelming, especially for those of us who are introverts. Don’t be afraid to take a break from the conference hotel, go for a walk to get some fresh air, or spend time by yourself to recharge.
Take advantage of being in San Francisco. Take an afternoon off to explore the city, try a new restaurant, etc.
Incorporate a poster session into your plan. These sessions can allow for in-depth discussion and be a great place to meet to build your network.
Have your elevator speech ready: What are your research interests? Where are you in school? How far along are you? What are your goals? Etc. You may only have a few minutes with a few important people.
We hope you enjoy the conference!