So you’ve registered for the convention and booked your flights and hotels. You have tried to look at the monster programming book but are feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. What is a grad student to do? Have no fear! The APAGS Convention Committee has some untold secrets to navigating convention!
- Although it seems daunting, the programming book and the APAGS How to Navigate Convention materials are your friends! Spend a few hours looking over things that are interesting. The APAGS materials are a great focus on what graduate students specifically may be interested in attending.
- Interested in learning about the internal workings of the divisions? Consider going to one of their business meetings. You can learn a lot about current topics and become more aware of potential opportunities for graduate students.
- Free food is everywhere at convention! For example, graduate students can come to the APAGS suite for the Food for Thought breakfasts where they can enjoy breakfast while conversing with some of the field’s most influential psychologists. This year we have Dr. Robert Levine, Dr. Mitchell Prinstein, and Dr. Robert Sternberg. Students can also find free food at some of the presentations. Keep an eye out for large groups of people!
- Speaking of free, if you go to the exhibit hall, you are sure to bring back many free pens, pads of paper, post-its, and other goodies.
- If you only know a couple of presentations you are interested in, be sure to ask the audience members around you what other presentations they are attending. Better yet, ask the speakers of the presentation what other speakers they are looking forward to seeing. This will give you some good ideas for other presentations that might fit your interests.
- Posters presentations at convention are often looked over and not attended well. Take advantage of the opportunity to talk with other graduate students and professionals at these poster sessions. The programming book lists the presentations according to topic. These presenters will be glad to talk with you and who knows, you may work in a great networking or collaborative opportunity!
- If you are a presenter for a poster or paper, be sure to collect audience members’ information if they are interested in following up with you and your research. Again, do not waste this great potential for networking by not having a central location to keep people’s information.
- The easiest way to relay your own information to others when networking is to bring your own business cards. This way you do not have to write down your long email and name each time; just give them your card!
- Although you came to D.C. to work on your presentation skills, networking, or just to see other professionals, make time to explore the city! This may be the only time where you can visit some of Washington D.C.’s historic sites and museums. Some of my favorites are the Lincoln Memorial, The Smithsonian, and The Crime and Punishment museum.
We hope this list helps you out in navigating convention. Please consider coming by the APAGS suite and the APAGS booth to say hi and introduce yourself while in D.C.!