The 2014 American Psychological Association Annual Convention is under way and convention-goers are excited to connect with colleagues, friends and future collaborators. I have always enjoyed APA convention and recall my very first convention in this exact city about 10 years ago as a bright-eyed graduate student. Now, after earning my doctorate in clinical psychology I am still amazed by everything I learn each year. I also feel like “I’m not prepared.”
APA convention is a great experience.Yet, I wonder how many get that feeling of being unprepared for the hustle and bustle of convention activities. As an early career psychologist, I think I have a strategy to manage the busy convention schedule. Here are my tips for making your convention a smooth, fun time.
- Plan ahead: APA convention is so large you can never have enough time to attend all the sessions and social events for your respective divisions or interests.Be sure to browse the convention program ahead of time.I recall my very first convention attempting to look through the program during or between sessions. Not a good strategy! The new convention app makes it very easy to search for sessions. If you’re in need of continuing education (CE) credits, the app also allows you to search by that category.
- Look at the map: Convention activities can be hard to find. Be sure to locate where your hotel is in proximity to the convention center and the supplemental hotels. This will make your convention experience less stressful. Nothing is worse than having to get from the convention center to suite programming within 10 minutes and not knowing which way to turn.
- Connect with colleagues in advance: Given convention is so busy, most people have limited flexibility in their schedules. Yet we all enjoy each other’s time and being able to catch up. Be sure to reach out to friends and colleagues in advance to maximize your time for fun and relaxation.
Now that I have given you some tips, let’s see if I can take my own advice!