ACPA17 is almost here! You may be gathering your things, packing your bags, for those who are presenting, you are putting the finishing touches on your spectacular sessions. For those of us who have been dreaming, scheming and preparing for ACPA17 we are so EXCITED to welcome you. As you prepare for your travel, here are a few thoughts from the most “seasoned” member of the steering team.
Make a travel plan: Know how you are going to get to Columbus (Cbus), how you are getting from you arrival location to where you are residing and most importantly, where you are residing during the convention. We can help you with your plans. Just visit the ACPA17 webpage Traveling to Columbus or email Rachel Aho (mailto:email@example.com subject=ACPA travel) and we will help answer your questions. Make certain your start your convection off on a good note by having your travel and accommodation plans in place. Do I have a plan in place?
Set your intentions: In our spin class, the instructor always begins class with the instruction “set your intentions” and this is a great tip for us as well. As soon as you can, come to the registration area in the convention center connector and register. Once you have gathered all of your goodies, go find a quiet spot (you can socialize and rekindle old friendships later) and plunge into the Convention Program Book. Investigate, search, plan, and determine what you can learn, experience and do in the days you have in CBus. You will find amazing speakers, sessions, Pecha Kuchas, Genius Labs, entity group meetings and much more. What are your intentions?
Pace yourself: You will note I did not say, “get your rest” or “go to bed early” that just may not happen. There is too much good stuff going on. I went to my first ACPA convention in 1980 and I am still trying to catch up on my sleep! Don’t be derailed by the fear of missing out. Don’t forget your intentions and the reasons you decided to attend ACPA17. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can run out of gas pretty quickly. Enjoy Destination (Salty Caramel Toffee) Donuts, Jeni’s (Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk) Ice Cream, and Elevator (Three Frogs IPA) Brewery, but in moderation. Eat properly, stay well hydrated, get a good night’s sleep (as much as possible), exercise your body and take fresh air breaks as often as you can. Did I practice self-care?
“Pay it Forward” (attributed to Woody Hayes and many others): Find someone new to the profession and invite them out for a meal or a cup of coffee and pick up the check if you can. This is your chance to “pay it forward”, share your experiences about our wonderful profession and offer our newer professionals a connection. Nothing beats the real-world advice and collective wisdom of those who have been there before. You will find this to be one of the most rewarding times you spend during convention. And, as I tell the youngins (you know who you are) that I have shared meals with over the past years: “I expect you to come and take me out to dinner when I am in the retirement home.” How did I pay it forward?
Maximize your session time: When you head to a session, make the most of this opportunity, go up and introduce yourself to the presenter(s). Meet the other attendees, make connections with fellow attendees or get your name out there with a carefully crafted tweet. Prepare for these moments by familiarizing yourself with the session topics ahead of time, learning about the speaker online, or thinking about information you want to share about yourself and questions you want to ask. It’s a great way to make the most out of every session you attend. What more did I do than sit in my sessions?
Tweet dam* it!: Fire up all of your social media accounts. Let the world know we are changing higher education. Let the world know what we are doing, what you are learning, that we are a movement. Did Derreck Kayango inspire your heart? Did President Hrabowski push your commitment? Did Bettina Love challenge your thinking and push you to engage your creativity? Did Daisy Hernandez encourage you to tell your story? Tweet about it using #ACPA17. How will they know I cared?
Columbus is a city: Those of us who call Columbus home will wax poetic on all of its wonders, art, restaurants, diversity, people and community. But, as you are navigate our city please remember it is a city with all of the good and bad that go with that moniker. There are unscrupulous characters, so please be thoughtful about your safety. A few thoughts:
- Be alert and pay attention to your surroundings. Mobile devices can help you get where you are going, but be sure to focus on what is happening around you too!
- Plan your route, know where you may be going ahead of time, and travel with a parnet or a group of friends (https://www.experiencecolumbus.com/travel-tools/maps/)
- Know your resources – CBus offers lots of opportunities to connect and experience our community – including our free CBus Circulator that travels through the Convention Center, Short North, Victorian Village, German Village and Brewery District for free.
Follow up and follow through: You came, you experienced, you connected, you invested, you reflected, you learned. Now it is time to follow through. You made new friends and colleagues and promised you would call or email…do it! You met that faculty member or author who made you nervous when you were introduced…send them a note. Revisit your intentions: were they met? How was I transformed by ACPA17?
Gretchen Metzelaars, PhD