I’ve been mentally preparing.
I’m a naturally introverted person. I sometimes forget that we introverts not only need time to recover from an event, we also need time to prepare for an event. In my case, I have several events coming up in the next several weeks, with some of them being back to back. The introvert in me is already mentally saying “All those people and place and things and schedules and meals and driving and hotels…. This is going to be exhausting.”
That’s not to say that I don’t want to attend these events. I’m actually very excited about going. NERGC especially is going to be interesting. There are several photograph-related seminars that I’m planning to attend, and, being my first genealogy conference, I expect that I’ll be meeting some people in person that I currently know by name only. It’s going to be fun, but I realized this morning that it’s going to take some mental preparation, which my lizard brain apparently realized a week or two ago as it quietly started shutting down some external stimulations, like blogging.
Amma Marfo over at The Student Affairs Feature offers a good explanation for the non-introverted of what the introverted go through at conferences, as well as some suggestions for helping the introverted to not become overwhelmed. For NERGC, I’ve already planned some “recharge” periods. Even though they are great networking opportunities, and the discussions seem interesting, I purposely didn’t sign up for any of the meals offered at the conference. Instead, I’ll grab a bite to eat by myself, or with a smaller group. This will let me recover from the stimulation of crowds of people, and signs, and literature, and so on.
What I wasn’t able to do, unfortunately, was book a room in the same hotel as the conference. This is my normal preference, and what I’d recommend as my #1 tip for convention-going introverts. Staying right in the hotel gives you almost instant access to quiet and decompression in the event that everything starts to become too exhausting. Unlike Amma above, you won’t have to fall asleep in the lobby, you can recharge in the comfort of your own room. For NERGC, I’m staying at a nearby hotel that appears to be about a 10 minute walk away, so if you are attending the conference, and see me sitting in a corner somewhere reading a book, I’m likely just recharging between sessions.
Aside from mental preparation, I need to start physical preparations. Never having attended a genealogy conference before, I’m not sure exactly what to bring. My laptop will be going with me, but I’m not sure what else. A notebook is a must, and possibly a sketchbook. Someone suggested mailing labels for quickly filling out forms, and of course business cards for handing out to new contacts.
What else should I bring?