Back to back conferences on opposite sides of the world who thought that would be a good idea? Anna (Klas) and I apparently. We left America for New Zealand, and yep you guessed it another conference. This time it was ASBHM in Christchurch.
I knew that this one would be a whole lot smaller than the previous, and it was a nice change of pace.
As with SPSP I like certain areas of health psychology but not that into it where I had to make difficult decisions about what I wanted to see in competing streams. My decisions were mainly made up for me as the Misinformation Lab were presenting in a lot of the streams and so obviously supporting everyone in the lab was important.
Day one was a nice easy day as the morning was workshops and then there was a keynote. I have only seen a few keynote speakers and 10/10 Jeffrey Braithwaite was one of the best. He made a great point about the importance of researching the way that we do things in the field rather than researching the way that we think things are done. Academics are probably more disconnected from the field than we like to think, and this is something that needs to be considered if we want to make real change. Another key theme from the conference as a whole was the need for interdisciplinary collaboration.
My main thought on day one was not to do to two conferences back to back. It wasn’t as terrible as I had imagined because this was a complete change of pace from the other one, and even though I only knew a handful of people going into it, it was a great environment to make friends. But it still isn’t something I would recommend, they take an enormous amount of cognitive energy and I don’t think I have ever been so tired.
Lab member Anna (Anna Jackson) presented today and killed it at her very first conference. I can’t imagine getting up and presenting my fourth-year research, and she should be very proud of herself for how well she did.
One thing that I am a surprising advocate for is attending social events, however I am also an advocate of knowing your limits and not going to things if you absolutely don’t want to. The Wednesday after you landed from America the day before was not an opportune moment for socialising and that is okay. It isn’t like I locked myself in a room for the next two days, there was more time for socialising, and socialise I did.
Day two and it was my turn to present. I have only ever spoken about my research in one other place in front of people and it was to about eight people I knew. Presenting to 30-ish people you don’t know is highly intimidating; alas the world didn’t implode, I didn’t die from anxiety, and the questions were nice and I could answer them. I think the main thing I got from this experience is that notes are great, but it flows much better (for me) without them. I also learned that even though I think I know absolutely nothing about my topic and area, after 9 months of researching it you do have some things stick in your brain. Also that people just want to see you do well, at a small conference like this one the people aren’t monsters and they want you to succeed.
Everyone else from the lab presented on this day as well, wrapping up all the cool stuff that has been happening over the last year and it was nice to be there to be a part of it. The Thursday held the conference dinner but to be honest I was tired, but I will say that even though I didn’t really want to socialise, it was nice to chat to people. Making friends is easier when you are forced together for three days.
The last day of the conference was a blur, which ended with a bunch of people at the noodle markets in which I am fairly sure the entirety of Christchurch was also at. Overall ASBHM was probably the conference where I have been the most relaxed and held the least feelings of imposter syndrome. Maybe this is because this is my first time actually presenting at a conference I have been to and I felt a bit more like a legitimate researcher. Or maybe because this was the sixth conference like thing I have been to and now I am just used to how they work. Either way, it was worth the ridiculous trip that was undertaken and the stress about presenting. Catch you all in Sydney for 2020!!
Oh and because I have written two posts in the last two hours and none of them have mentioned open science let’s have a plug for the ASBHM OSF meeting page. If you presented, or want to check out the posters and slides that were there please go to the OSF page.