As a part of my Research Assistantship and by the graciousness of the professor under whom I work, I was afforded an opportunity to be published on a poster that was presented at the 2014 Society of Social Work Research (SSWR) national conference this past January in New Orleans. Although I’m not yet completely convinced a PhD is in my future, it is something I think about a lot and this experience was really insightful.
If you have never been to a professional conference before (I hadn’t until last month), its full of busyness and professionalism. There a so many simultaneous events from poster and paper presentations to awards banquets and university receptions. It is just as much a networking and social event as it is a continuing education opportunity. If you’d like to look at the schedule to get an idea of the different events you can do so here: http://secure.sswr.org/2015-conference-home/preliminary-schedule/
I’m sure your wondering why this matters to you! Because its EXCITING! The innovation, the creativity, the passion and commitment are abundant in every attendee. Every presenter feels her/his field of research is the most interesting topic in academia, everyone is alive with learning and sharing and looking into how their research can be improved through tips or even collaboration with others around the country. This, to me, was worth the trip (site seeing all over New Orleans wasn’t so bad either). To know that this field is growing and more importantly that others who have been doing this work for years and years are still as passionate about it as I am was incredibly encouraging and empowering as an aspiring social worker.
No matter the type, be sure to take advantage of the opportunities around you. In my experience at the UNC School of Social Work opportunity is ALWAYS just around the corner, and most of the time you don’t even have to go looking for it!