Friday, 22 May 2015

Post 50: Thinking Mountains Conference Recap

The Thinking Mountains conference held in Jasper, Alberta from May 5th - May 8th was one of the most fun conferences I've been to.

The size (around a hundred?) was perfect for getting to know almost everyone I'd wanted to (at times the conversations among other delegates were so engaged that I missed talking to two people I'd wanted to say hello to!), the venue and food were fantastic, and the mountains surrounding Jasper made for more than a fitting locale for the conference. The weather held up, too! It was great for the majority of the conference, and we delivered a successful Mountain Legacy field trip and managed almost all of the photos at the Old Fort Hill station as part of a Morrison P. Bridgland survey.

A photo that the talented Mary Sanseverino took of us at the field trip with our group! It can be found on her Flikr here.

What a great bunch, and what a fun afternoon! In the image above, Mary transposed the historical survey photo (in black and white) onto the modern with us in front.

So this was also my first conference with almost my whole lab group, and that made it really special. How lovely to wring hands and sip water nervously in the company of my colleagues while waiting for my turn during our panel. My supervisor did a great job of setting us up with the intro of the panel (about 20 minutes), then each of us had about 15 minutes to speak, each. And everyone did so darn good!! I was really humbled by how good the presentations were! 

I felt really great (though still a bit terrified) after completing my own presentation, but boy was I glad that our presentations were right on the first day of the conference. I would have had a difficult time of enjoying it otherwise, I think, though now I know more of what to expect in the future. Not only did I feel really good afterwards, and I am so grateful for all the TAing experience, because holding lectures/facilitating discussions for an hour at a time made me several degrees more comfortable during the talk, but it did feel like an accomplishment. 

Lovely spring lilac! 
On top of that, what I couldn't have expected was the delight and surprise that I experienced when several people came up to me afterwards to say, "Great presentation!" That felt very good, too. 

I was very sad after the conference was over, and it was very bittersweet to part ways with my colleagues right away. They were taking on a long road trip back to Victoria, and I was on my way back home to Kaslo, BC, where I spent the next 2.5 weeks, covering my parents' first big joint vacation in 27 years! 

Gaining the experience from the conference was so valuable. I highly recommend the experience for all grad students. There are different conferences for different stages of where you're at in your degree, too; a conference such as CONFORWest (finished for this year) is specifically for graduate students, and would be an awesome place to get that first conference experience.

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