5 Reasons to Go to That Conference

As a social work major at the University of Akron, I have an amazing opportunity every year to attend the National Association of Social Workers conference in Columbus, Ohio for free. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I love getting out of Akron for the day, networking, and attending lectures on topics I am passionate about. This is also a really great time to bond with my friends in my major and get a lot of cool, free stuff! So many people are still really intimidated or bored by the idea of attending a conference, so here are five reasons to go to that conference

  1. 1. Extra-credit opportunity

    When a major conference for your major happens in your state, region, or even country, it is likely that one of your professors will at least attend, if not present. This can be a great opportunity to take advantage of cancelled class and actually attend the lecture. Some professors will even offer extra credit for attending the conference, and if not, ask! It does not hurt to offer to write a short paper about what you learned at the conference and earn some some points, for the class and with the professor. This will definitely come in handy as finals roll around.

  2. 2. Education

    Too often the idea of learning or education sounds really boring or exhausting because we spend all day in class and in lectures, taking notes, and pretending to pay attention to powerpoints. When was the last time you learned something because YOU wanted to? Often, conferences break out into different sections and you get to learn about different fields of interest. I attended a session about anorexia and some of my friends attended a presentation about pets in the social work profession. It was not exactly for me, but it was really great to learn about something because without the pressure of a test or a paper looming in the background.

  3. 3. Networking and job opportunities

    Pro-tip: so many conferences have mini job fairs full of employers from your field looking for interested students. Need an internship? Need a job? You came to the right place. Even if you’re not actively looking, taking some business cards and following up and connecting with other professionals at the conference is a great way to network and get your foot in the door.

  4. 4. Taking advantage of everything college has to offer

    It is easy to lose track in the hustle bustle of college of all the amazing opportunities available. It may feel good to come home after class and work to go home and binge Netflix, but it is important to try and take advantage of what is offered. Try out a class at the Rec, go to that club meeting, and go to that conference. You’ll thank yourself, trust me.

  5. 5. Trying something new

    This can feel really intimidating. Stepping outside your comfort zone, however, is so healthy and such an important part of the college experience. Conferences sound really scary, but there are usually quite a few students there, and a lot of the professionals are excited to give you advice. Even if you feel like you did not personally learn anything, giving something new a chance will feel really productive and educational, in its own way.