#scintilla: academic tribes

I am skipping around #scintilla posts because I'm behind, like pretty much everything in my life right now, and I don't need one more thing to feel guilty about not keeping up with. 

I'd been thinking about the tribes prompt since it appeared on Thursday where I was in the midst of a conference with one of my tribes, my professional tribe. 

List the tribes you belong to: cultural, personal, literary, you get the drift. Talk about the experience of being in your element with your tribes.

Normally, when I go to an academic conference, M goes with me. This time, she had to work and the conference was close enough I could easily drive so I went without her. I went to a lot of sessions in the 2 days I was there and attended an art exhibit. Brain overload. 

What I love about conferences is learning from others, being around people I read throughout the year, people I admire. It's the closest I feel to being in graduate school again where ideas challenged me and I had intense conversations with other grad students and I felt as though what I thought, what I felt, how it all worked together was important or could be. 

I do have a tribe of conference peeps, those people I see mostly at conferences and get to hang out with for a few days. It's always wonderful to share ideas and pieces of my life with them, even if it is incredibly brief. The connections go beyond networking, usually and with the true tribe, we chat, send facebook messages and often work together or at least support one another's work by reading, showing up, asking questions. 

This is further multiplied when I go to my favorite conferences like Computers and Writing, which I've missed the past few years. Not being able to feel as connected not just to the field but to the group of people there was a bummer.

Academics are an odd bunch in the best of ways; get groups of us together and it probably looks like the most boring conversations from the outside. But for me, it's often incredibly productive.