Professional development opportunities are some of the most exciting and interesting chances that I have had while being a student at Millersville. Conferences are easily my favorite form of professional development. Whether they are full day or full week conferences, on campus or far away, every conference I have attended has left me feeling motivated and inspired to teach. As I type, I am currently creating a packing list for a conference I am attending at the end of this week. Here are some of my must haves to pack for an overnight conference!
- A Casual Change of Clothes
This is essential! During the day you may need to wear business casual clothing, but in the evening you may decide to go out exploring the town and will want a change of clothes. I like to bring a pair of jeans and a nice top so I still appear somewhat professional, but I can relax.
- A Notebook
At a conference, I typically get tons of new ideas for my future classroom! I also get very motivated. I like to take a notebook with me to jot down new ideas while I am still inspired so I can capture how I feel at that moment to reread at another date. Your notes can be neatly written out or scribbled frantically. As long as you can read them, they have served their purpose.
- Your Favorite Pens
Writing with your favorite pen in a notebook while at a conference is such a professional and girl boss feeling.
- A Laptop
Depending on the conference, it may be appropriate to bring your laptop to sessions with you. In my experience, I have found it helpful to pull out my laptop if the speaker gives out several websites that coincide with the session topic. It’s super easy to quickly save those websites to your bookmarks to explore at a later date.
These are more of an after sessions necessity. If you are at a conference that requires spending the night and sharing the room with a peer that you don’t know super well, earbuds can come in handy for talking on the phone with a friend or playing whitenoise or music as you sleep. It is a quick way to feel as if you have some privacy when sharing a room.
- Vitamin C
With several people in one large expo hall or from constantly being around people in various sessions throughout the day, germs can spread quickly. The worst thing that would happen at a conference is getting sick. Bring some vitamin C gummies, dissolvable tablets, or your preferred method of a vitamin C boost. You’ll thank me later.
- Gum or Mints
Gum and mints come in handy especially when you are presenting or meeting several people throughout the day. Quickly refresh your breath and feel your confidence increase throughout the day by slipping some mints or gum into your bag!
- Professional Contact Info
Nothing could feel more mortifying than connecting with a higher-up in your field at a conference and then they ask for your contact information and all you have is your email address that you made at the age of thirteen. If you haven’t already, create an email address that is professional. I recommend making it simple by using your name. This way, you can keep in contact with anyone you’ve networked with while avoiding embarrassing moments.
Conferences are such an exciting place to learn more about your field of study, as well as a test drive for your career. It’s a fun place to feel like you’re an adult who knows what is going on. Being prepared can help your experience so much by helping you feel professional and ready to learn. For all those who are attending and/or presenting at conferences this semester, good luck and I am so excited for you!