Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the National Conference on Students in Transition in New Orleans, Louisiana. I consider myself to be a lifelong student so conferences and really any type of professional development are right up my ally. But, when I returned to my desk upon arriving home, I felt a little bit distraught; sad, even. How can I beat these post-conference blues?
When we spend time learning from and speaking with the best and brightest in the field, I believe that it is natural to mourn the end of the event. But what can we do when we get back to make the most of our time spent learning? Here are a few things I’ve been working on post-conference:
Copy your notes.
If you’re a pen-and-paper note taker, like me, go ahead and type up your notes. This will help you to refocus on the most important themes and messages that you’re bringing home. Share these notes with your peers and colleagues! If you’ve already typed up your notes, go back through them and create an even more condensed list of the key points you’d like to share with your supervisor or staff members.
Red, Yellow, Green.
One guided activity that we did during the closing session of the conference involved red, yellow, and green notecards. Using five of each color, we wrote down things we’d like to start doing, change how we’re doing, or stop doing. Then, we further categorized these notecards in order of priority. What are the top five things that you’re going to do, change, or stop as a result of attending the conference?
Talk to Someone.
Is there something that you’d really like to implement as a result of your learning? Share your notecards and/or notes with your coworkers or people you know can champion your ideas. For example, I have a newfound interest in exploring sophomore initiatives. After sharing this with my supervisor, she encouraged me to meet with another member of our team who shares that interest! Now, I know I have a resource and listening ear to continue exploring some of my ideas.
Did you meet anyone while you were at the conference? If the answer is no, I’m going to go ahead and say that you’re doing it wrong. Collect business cards or contact information while you’re there and then make sure to follow up. If you loved specific presentations, email those presenters to thank them for their words of wisdom. If you had follow up questions for presenters or other attendees, reach out and ask! The hardest part, in my opinion, is staying connected in the months and years post-conference.
Even if it’s just one tiny step in the right direction. It is so hard to come back to work, see too many unread emails, and still think about creating a new initiative or program because of your recent conference experience. Do it anyways. Just jot down some steps you’d need to consider in order to start. Maybe it’s just the name of someone you’d be willing to talk to! Keep your momentum up!
What are some of the things you do to beat the post-conference blues? Share them with us!