• College Ready Writing

    A blog about education, higher ed, teaching, and trying to re-imagine how we provide education.


The Conference Hustle

Staying in residence for conferences.

May 22, 2012

There were some great suggestions on my last post in the comments on how to save money at conferences. I do all that I can to save money. I use all of the discount travel sites to compare costs and, like I said, I’ve enrolled in just about every travel rewards program (including one through the credit cards that “pay” me double and triple points when I book).

One of my favorite things about going to conference at this time of the year in Canada is that they always take place on university campuses (and not necessarily university campuses in large cities) where most of the academics end up staying in residence. It’s cheaper, it’s right at the venue, and you never know who you’re going to run into in the shared showers.

When I was a PhD student, I was at a conference, about to make one of my first presentations. I was working on translation and Canadian literature, and I was going to quote the late, great Barbara Godard. I had never met her before, but he work (and prose) is…imposing, to say the least. On the morning of my presentation, as I was coming out of the showers and because I was so nervous, I literally ran into a diminutive elderly-looking lady with crazy white hair and black, round glasses, wrapped in a towel. I apologized profusely, and scurried back to my room. Imagine my horror when the first speaker of the day, the keynote, was none other than the woman I ran over in the showers, Barbara Godard.

I go back to Canada (twice) and stay in residence (twice) older and wiser. I know more people, and I’m less nervous than I was before, too. Sharing a bathroom or showers never bothered me (my years of swimming, then living in residence and with roommates did that to me) and it still doesn’t; I’m not sharing a bathroom with a five-year-old and a three-year-old, so I’ll actually have MORE privacy than I do at home (anyone who has and has had small kids know exactly what I’m talking about).

Reading back over that last paragraph, there might be some nostalgia tied into going back and staying in residence, in a small room with a small bed. Mind you, residence rooms have greatly improved since the “customer service” model became so prominent in higher education, so it’s always fun to see all of the amenities students have now that I didn’t have (or want or need) when I was there (wow, that did make me sound old and ornery).

I’ll be blogging from the conference, attending a few of the keynote conference talks, as well as the panels I’ll be attending. Follow me on Twitter (@readywriting) if you want live updates during the proceedings, both about official business and the hallway stuff that, as was rightly pointed out, is where all the really good stuff happens. 


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