I have a good few minutes between incubations, so I'm updating. I'm sure the most pressing question on everyone's mind is: What did I wear to the conference? Well, I traded in my usual uniform of a solid color T-shirt and jeans for a solid color T-shirt and a pair of khaki, black, or grey pants. That seemed to work out pretty well. I was dressed up more than some people there (a notable example of this is Cool But Important Scientist who wore a faded black T-shirt, orange pants, and a black blazer to give his talk) and less than others (One person presented with a tie on-- as well as the usual complement of clothing). I think I managed to look professional, but not trying too hard (however, when Advisor first saw me he said, "You do have other clothes!" I was flattered that he noticed, but I think he was just relieved that I wasn't wearing the paint covered pair of khakis he last saw me in.).
As for the actual conference itself, well, I thought it was pretty good. Most of the science was really well done with a few notable exceptions (which I won't go into except to say: on a ten hour day, please do not waste my time by presenting 30 year old data-- that I've read). My poster was up and I got a few questions about the techniques I'm using (I'm not sure why, though, it's not exactly ground-breaking at this time). I didn't get much input, though. I was hoping that I would, but maybe yeast people are too shy?
However, I had forgotten how exhausting it was to be at a conference all day! Plenary lectures in the morning, followed by lunch, then poster presentations, and finally symposiums. I suppose that I tried to do too much. It's my over-active guilt complex, I think. If Advisor is paying all this money for me to be able to go to this conference, then I should get the most out of it that I possibly can. So, I try to go to all sorts of interesting-sounding lectures. If nothing else, I learned a good bit about research that's going on outside of my area of interest, which was difficult. I don't have an in-depth background on lots of areas outside of Interesting Enzyme, so the symposiums were difficult for me to understand. I'd end up reading the abstracts during the first few minutes the presenter was talking in order to understand what they were doing. Before each symposium I'd promise myself to read the abstracts of the upcoming presenters during the coffee break, but I'd end up meeting people instead. So, I continued to sit in the back and be rude.
In between lectures, symposiums, etc. Advisor did a good job of introducing Labmate and me to various people in our field. I got my biggest thrill when one person I met at Small New England Conference two years ago remembered me and what I was working on! (I was just finishing my first year in the lab and had a poster presentation on my rotation project.) I don't think I did the greatest job at networking, but I tried a bit. I'm just not naturally a social person and it's rather difficult for me to talk with people I don't know very well. (I could have used The Alternative Scientist's Guide To Networking, but, alas, it was mostly posted while I was away.) I did manage to have some science-related discussions with Important Scientists and other graduate students (there were precious few of us there). The evening before the end of the conference a group of graduate students got together for a social event and I joined in. Good times were had and I think the amount of drunkeness was kept to a minimum by all.
Overall, I had a good time there and it (almost) got me fired back up to do Experiments for Damned Yeast Project. I'll post pictures whenever I remember to download them to my computer. And there's the timer! Off I go.