at the end of the day

The Department Graduate Conference I've been so stressing about is officially over. Everyone who was there came up to me and told me over and over again how great they thought it was. I think the presentations I listened to were amazing. I am proud to be in a program with these people. And when I think about it, no matter how much my own interests or thoughts diverge from those around me, I value their work. Dr. Trites began the day with a Welcome Message that was inspiring and set the perfect tone for the day. Some of the faculty presenters showed up early and stuck around late to listen to the graduate students' work. That, to me, is a testament to our Department despite its problems. The Roundtable Discussion on the Job Market alerted all of us to something that I don't think is said enough about job interviews of any kind: "Trust yourself." Lori made the point that as a job candidate you're also interviewing the school and the department in which you'll potentially work. It seems simple and obvious now I've written it out but I'd forgotten that.

The Keynote went well. The faculty panel, despite being outside, went well. I'd wish more people had stuck around for it but after lunch it seems everyone left, which is really too bad because the last panel of the day was a perfect ending and I think people missed out by not hearing it. All but one of my PA group members was there so I feel good about that and half of them presented something.

Overall the event was successful. It was something I worked really hard on. Marie and Oren got me a thank you present though they shouldn't have to show their appreciation and Bob thanked me numerous times for all my work. I feel very good about what I learned from the experience planning and facilitating the event but moreso I feel good that I supported graduate students' research, that I learned from them, that I felt connected. I've been needing that connection without realizing it. Sometimes I think I go into my head, into my hiding zones and I start to feel down without knowing why. I'm beginning to see how that feeling is a lack of connection with my graduate student colleagues, with my department and with my own academic interests. It's hard to keep everything balanced but it's deadly not to try.