#SfN13: Day 5

Today was the last day of SfN 2013. Posters came down, airplanes took off, and tears were shed as we all embraced and listened to Green Day's "Good Riddance" one last time together.

As a first timer at the meeting, I was pleasantly surprised at how useful it was. Most conferences I've been to previously were smaller, and as a result, there weren't many others working on research related to my own. This past week, on the other hand, gave me many opportunities to talk with others who were working on things very closely related to what I am working on. I learned a ton and am excited to implement many of the things I learned into my own research. It's been a real boost.

There are also some things I would change. Here are some tips I've thought of over the past few days:

  • Be very picky about what you put on your planner to see. There is not enough time to see all the things you might be interested in, and even if there was, you only have so much physical and mental energy each day.
  • Once you narrow down your list of what you plan on seeing, read the abstracts before you arrive at the conference floor. It will save you awkward time standing in front of each poster reading their abstracts, and you can jump straight into discussing their results with them.
  • If you want to talk to someone, DON'T CHICKEN OUT! You'll regret it later. You don't have to make friends with every neuroscience celebrity you see, but if you have a legitimate reason to talk to them, why not?
  • If you present a poster, try to cut out as much text as possible without losing important details, and don't try to squeeze too many figures in the limited space. It gets overwhelming to your audience, and their eye doesn't know what to focus on. Instead, concentrate on a handful of main results, and refer them to your contact info or blog for more information.
  • Also, if you present a poster, be present for the entire session, not just your designated hour. I've read this advice other places, and most people seemed to follow it, but I'm reiterating it because it's really important. It's not always practical for people to visit your poster during your designated hour.
  • On that note, plan on visiting posters/exhibits/symposiums in an order that will minimize travel time and distractions and maximize learning time.
  • Put priority on posters that you'd like to see over symposiums. Symposiums can certainly be useful and interesting, but posters offer more one-on-one time with authors.
  • Eat healthily. Get enough sleep. Exercise. You will have more energy to learn and have fun during the day if you do those things.
  • Consider sight-seeing or taking some sort of break to see the city. Although you will not want to miss the opportunities offered by the conference, there are also unique opportunities offered by the host city that can also be good.

Those are just a few things that I think would have helped make my conference experience even better. That being said, it was a fantastic experience, and I look forward to next year!

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Posted November 14th, 2013 in Career, Neuroscience, Science.