I collapsed into my seat at the Denver International Airport last Saturday night, enlightened and exhausted after attending my first ASHA Convention as a graduate student. As I headed home, it was hard to believe how much I accomplished in the past 72 hours! From learning the latest evidence-based practices to enjoying dinner with new friends in downtown Denver—navigating the convention is an art form.
Here are five tips to help you (and me!) get the most out of the 2016 ASHA Convention in Philadelphia.
- Walking shoes. I hastily packed shoes for style and not comfort. According to my step-tracker, I walked nearly 10,000 steps during my first day at the convention! Needless to say, I stopped at a local shoe store that evening to buy the cushiest walking shoes I could find in my size. Make sure to pack your most comfy kicks.
- Say hello. Exercise your pragmatic skills, and say hello to the person next to you at each presentation and take a moment to personally thank the speaker afterward. These simple approaches allowed me to make personal connections with like-minded colleagues.
- There’s an app for that. ASHA’s Program Planner offers a tablet- and smart phone-compatible app allowing you to navigate the convention’s numerous options. It’s useful before the convention to find sessions of interest and during the convention to do quick searches.
- Explore the host city. Make some time in your busy schedule to take in the local flavor of the host city. There was great scenery, shopping and dining in Denver. My friends and I booked a red-eye flight to ensure we could explore Denver before heading home. Not only did we further our professional development at the convention, but we got a taste of the local culture.
- Plan now. It’s never too soon to plan for ASHA 2016! Denver accommodations booked very quickly, so take the time now to talk to colleagues and classmates about room sharing and travel for the 2016 convention in Philadelphia. Keep up with the latest information about convention 2016 by following ASHA on your favorite social media outlets.
Do you have any advice to get the most out of upcoming conventions? If so, please share in the comment box below! See you in Philly!
Kelly Meehan-Doig is graduate student in speech-language pathology at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She was one of the 2015 Student Ethics Essay Awards recipients. firstname.lastname@example.org.