Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm Just Here for the Food

For most of this week I am, and will continue to be, at the regional NCURA conference in Houston. That would be the National Council for University Research Administrators in Texas and Oklahoma. While this is about as thrilling as it sounds, and while most of my days until Wednesday will look like this:

Most of my evenings will look something like this: 

When I was a librarian I attended a lot of conferences. I traveled to Miami, Taos, El Paso, Chicago, Denver, Oaxaca, Washington DC and countless small towns throughout East Texas. I delivered PowerPoints and presented posters and attended professional development workshops, and it was a very good time. And while my new position in the grants office is better in a lot of ways, the one thing it sorely lacks is opportunities for travel. These few days in Houston are a rare treat and I am taking advantage of the fancy hotel and per diem like nobody's business!

And while I'm excited to attend my first research administration conference, it does make me nostalgic for the good ole days of library events. At librarian conferences, everyone is up to date on the latest Internet craze. I communicated with my colleagues more on Twitter than I did in person. MacBooks and iPhones jockeyed for available outlets. It was a nerd's paradise! 

Grant professionals, I have found, are another breed. Not better and not worse. Just... different. The sessions are more serious. The workshops deal with work flow and compliance rather than location based apps or The Commons. There are NO HASHTAGS. But it's okay. I'm learning things, I'm becoming better at my job, and it helps that we're staying at the Magnolia, which boasts a hotel happy hour (free drinks!) and complimentary milk and cookies before bed. 

Like I said: I am not complaining. No complaining one bit!