Monday, March 18, 2013


I admit it, I hate conferences.  However; I sign-up and re-attend year after year.  If everyone else gets to run out of the office, so should I.  I think that I hate conferences because I don’t drink.  That’s right, I just figured out the root of my problem, I am bitter and jealous.  I am okay with this bitterness and jealousy factor, but I mitigate it by attending the conference based on my ability to do paperwork months in advance and screwing over a last minute paper work person.  Although I may not be going out and drinking it up, I can still enjoy the peace and quiet away from the halls….but wait, I forgot about being in a building with hundreds of drunks, it’s just now they are my co-workers and other professionals in the field.  <Sigh>.  I still have mixed emotions that I will be returning to work and talking to students about responsible drinking, whereas I have held the head of vomiting co-workers during conferences in the past.

However, conference time always makes me reflect on my favorite and least favorite conference moments.  I particularly enjoyed the drug and alcohol conference that was in New Orleans.  I admit, I didn’t actually attend the conference, but was instead just hanging out in the city.  There was something magical about seeing all the drug and alcohol educators giggling about being able to consume alcohol on a public street.  Now that I think about it, as a graduate student I tagged along to another conference, again I didn’t attend it, but still ran out of the office for a nice trip. Ah! Anything for a pool side drip in the gloomy North West months. The truth is, if you want to be a great mentor, you let a graduate student tag along cheap and sleep on your hotel floor.  If you’re kind, you might give them a pillow, better yet, you might actually try not to step on them when you are getting out of bed.

The last time I was in Orlando I was relegated to the horrible land of the Gaylord.  I kept wandering around lost and confused.  I was also bitter that the day after the joint conference left the hotel restaurant dropped the prices of its hamburgers to $5.00 for a cheerleading conference that was coming in to the facility.  I was also bitter that all the restaurants were closed most of the time and the property was like a military survival camp.  If you wanted to eat you had to walk five miles through Gaylord nothings to get to food.  It was impossible.  In all honesty, my true bitterness with the last Orlando conference and being stuck at the Gaylord was that their pool was near the main walkway.  This meant that all the time I spent in the pool, or at least wanted to spend in the pool, was a bit awkward when I could see my supervisor’s staring at me from the glass walkway.  I overcame this anxiety by remaining in the pool.  I rolled with the assumption that they had to assume that I had attended some of the sessions at SOME point.  Truth be told, I didn’t, I sat in the pool the entire time. Following the Gaylord I spent three days at Disneyworld.  That’s a post in and of itself, but the first thing I did upon getting to Disneyworld as an adult was to call my mother and say “I’m sorry”.  I was sorry that she had ever taken me to Disneyworld as a child, I was sorry if I ever cried, complained, or threw a fit in the middle of Mainstreet U.S.A.  In particular, after one man was about to shake a baby, I knew that Disneyworld certainly was not the happiest place on earth.

I must say, the gays in ACPA have always had a rocking time. Yet, there were a number of times that I was horribly traumatized at the Drag show.  It usually involved some co-worker of mine getting horribly drunk and then being inappropriate.  Just for the record, if only one person is drunk, and it is not the person you are harassing or trying to make out with, it’s not a good time.  In addition, there was a drag show where I was hit with the press on nails of a drag queen.  I should have sued; I did not sign a waiver.

I have also done a shit ton of interviewing for positions and as a candidate. Word of advice, the person sitting across from you in the waiting room is not your enemy.  Also, just because you’re dressed up or wearing a suit, it does not mean that you are the world’s greatest gift to Student Affairs.  Go forth new graduates and fight for a job, but at the end of the day there is a position for most everyone.  It is just a matter of if you end up in California versus Arkansas.    Granted, now that I put it into that kind of perspective, I guess it is a big deal.  You should be scared shitless…they’re all going to laugh at you….wait, no, they’re not.  Yet, having done interviews for schools, I would recommend not showing up to my social, crashing it, and trying to drink as much as you can.  Chances are, unless you were a freaking rock star, after having done thirty interviews in one day, I am not going to remember your name.  I will remember if you show-up to the on-campus and I had to hold your hair when you had to throw up in a corner or be carried out of the social.