- find inspiration from talks related to my thesis work
- go to talks for personal interest
- reunite with old friends from college who also attend the meeting
- explore Vancouver area
1. Register for the conference, book the flight, and apply for the Rackham Graduate School travel grant
Each academic year, Rackham Graduate School provides one travel grant for each graduate student, both masters and PhD level. Details can be found here. For large conferences like JSM, early bird flight and hotel booking can ensure you more flexibility in planning and save you a lot of money.
2. Make a strategic plan for the sessions you want visit
With more than 600 sessions happening in a week, it was daunting to fit in all sessions and topics that interest me. As a newbies, I carefully studied the session information over the JSM app on the flight to Vancouver, and marked the ones I wanted to go on my calendar. This prevented me from being overwhelmed by hundreds of dazzling talks happening at the same time.
3. Broaden and balance the sessions you attend, and allow time to process new information
While I was busy going to the sessions related to my work, I also benefited from those that were not directly related to my research. For example, during the session on how to effectively communicate with non-statisticians, the presenter shared the core ideas and tips to successfully cooperate with investigators with different statistical demands. This type of talk was less technical, but useful to all researchers.
4. Take advantage of the social events
I was surprised to find that the social events at night were an incredible extension of the formal meetings in the daytime. In addition to personal meet-ups, different schools usually have their own official alumni receptions in the hotel. This is a great opportunity to mingle with alumni and review the remarkable achievements the department made in the past year (and the great food served is always a bonus!).
5. Don’t miss the career fair
Another crucial part of large conference is the career fair. By registering and submitting resumes in advance, you will be contacted by attending companies for interviews during the conference. Although an extra fee is often required to attend the conference career fair, those positions better target your major field and you don't have to fly for onsite interviews.
6. Reconnect with old friends
For your friends who studied the same major as you, it’s a great opportunity to reunite with them if they also attend the conference. For me, it was amazing to reconnect with a college friend during the poster session who I had lost contact for many years.
7. Take advantage of exploring local restaurants and landmarks
Vancouver is definitely paradise for a seafood and outdoor lover, and I happen to be both. I finished my Vancouver trip by spending the last 2 days in the mountains hiking and camping; it was one of the most incredible hiking experiences I have ever had.
|Garibaldi Lake where I spent one night camping|
Written by Tian Gu
International Orientation Peer Advisor