Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The end is in sight

...and I can tell because I've spent the morning systematically destroying my fingernails, checking my Facebook, online Christmas shopping, typing random letters into http://www.acronymfinder.com/ and perusing blogs, academic and non-academic alike. Unfortunately, I rearranged my wrapping paper and gift bag assortment at the end of last semester, so that leaves me with alphabetizing CDs and DVDs (or arranging according to genre) or cleaning the microwave. *shuddering*

Despite my lolly gagging, I have begun a convincing list of sources for two upcoming papers and, with any luck, might just have abstracts prepared for two upcoming submission deadlines. I'm wondering if I'll send them, though. I hear about these conference things, and what great experiences they are and how nicely they pad a CV. I've got two under my belt but--aside from the little lines they occupy on my CV--they're pretty shallow notches. It seems that these are places where academic bigwigs rub elbows and share intellectual nods--worse yet are the graduate students, you know, with their theoretical jargon and their khaki pants (kids these days). They seem to know the game.

Then there's me. I attend these conglomerations with the same confused expression as someone at their first salsa lesson: its scary, it looks painful and I have no idea what the steps are. I smile, nod, shake hands, read my paper, smile again, and look forward to getting back to the hotel bar. Maybe I should buy khaki pants. I do enjoy listening to panels, and either making mental notes of how to adopt a speaker's excellent personal presentation or feeling relieved that at least I didn't grimace as badly as that dude.

Is there a limit to how many conference presentations one should have? A graduate student friend once told me not to go to too many conferences, because it looks bad on a CV. This confused me. Can anyone corroborate this advice?

...tap left on the first beat, step forward on the same foot, rock back onto the right foot...


Dedalus said...

Oh, I remember my first salsa lesson...*wistful sigh.* So innocent. Or was that just a movie I saw once?

Seriously, alphabetizing CDs is strictly entry-level procrastination. What ya gotta do is archive them--rip 'em all onto your hard drive so that they can be preserved forever and can be played at the touch of a button. That was my June 2006. Good times. Now I have instant access to lots of dodgy 1990's rock music.

Lady Audley said...

Hey, I just found your blog-I love that I'm not the only one who does the crazy organizing to avoid actual work thing. I reorganized (some of) my bookshelves just this weekend :-)

What I've been told about conferences is that they should be chosen judiciously, and a long list of them is no substitute for publications. I guess it's seen as a less rigorous test of scholarship than peer-reviewed publication.

On the other hand, I think conferences are ridiculously fun, and I'll go to one whenever I have the chance :-P

I got an "A" in Crazy Beeyotch said...

Dedalus--I bow to your procastination wisdom! I really hadn't considered ripping CD's...indeed.

Lady A--welcome! Organizing bookshelves is nothing to sneeze at; well done!

Thanks for the input on conferences. I know that they are great things, I guess sometimes I like to record these feelings for posterity, if nothing else. This way I can remember what it felt like to be a green green grad student. That's a good point about long list vs. actual publication. I'll keep that in mind as I prepare these abstracts.