reflections on conferences

When I found out that I would be attending two scientific conferences back-to-back in D.C., I have to admit that I wasn’t initially excited. At the smaller conference, ISDP, I would be presenting a poster, which was essentially a sad story about how my rotation project didn’t work out. The second conference, Society for Neuroscience, I knew would be huge, exhausting, and potentially extremely overwhelming. It honestly seemed kind of unappealing.

Now, waiting in the Washington airport for a flight home, I can confirm: yes, it was exhausting, enormous, and overwhelming. But it was also just what I needed.

There were 30,000 people at the Society for Neuroscience conference this year. We filled the entirety of the Walter E Washington convention center with posters, talks, nanosymposia, and exhibitors. At the smaller conference, I had the opportunity to meet and converse with developmental scientists from all over the world. I met and bonded with former lab members. My poster presentation went very well– much better than I expected.

These conferences gave me two things I had been lacking recently: inspiration and confidence. I walked away with so many ideas, so much new knowledge. And, for the first time, I actually felt like a competent scientist.

I’m actually excited to get back to the lab.