An Introvert’s Guide to Two Conferences in Two Weeks

In the last two weeks, I’ve come home from two conference-type events. The first one was in Salzburg, the Global Seminar, and the second one was an orientation symposium in Bonn hosted by the DAAD, the lovely folks providing me with funding for the rest of my PhD. Since I can’t be the only introverted academic out there, I thought I’d present you with this.

An Introvert’s Guide to Two Conferences in Two Weeks

1. Go all out on the first conference, ignoring your nature to sit in a corner and observe happily. Make a comment or two in a discussion group and even visit the Bierstube (bar) on the first night. It’s okay to leave earlyish–you need to save your energy.
2. Repeat the performance the day after. Realize that night that people still don’t know your name or what it is you do. Rejoice in the fact that you have a name tag that allows people to semi-discreetly rectify that (but make sure to adjust that name tag so people can sneak a peek without seeming to stare at your breasts. That’s just awkward).
3. The next night, give up on the whole people remembering who you are/networking thing. Find a group of people you can attach yourself to at the last night’s revelry. Drink a year’s allotment of beer on the last night in the Bierstube (so about five beers, give or take), and even join in on the dancing. Go to bed when you feel like it, secretly proud that you stayed till 2 AM.
4. Enjoy the train ride home (ten hours) in blissful solitude. Don’t let on that you at the very least understand German to the ornery but chatty old man sitting next to you.
5. At the next conference, give up and drink your Cokes at a table with other Dutch people, refusing to really network and/or build cross-cultural understanding like you’re supposed to. Have fun mocking everyone else. Surely conference-burn-out and a bit of heartbreak entitle you to a few snarky comments.
6. Be glad that your next conference isn’t until December. You’ll be back in people-mingling mood by then.

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