Monday, March 23, 2009

So, about these conferences...

Oh crap. I got accepted to another one.

See, the thing is that way back last year when I was terrified of conferences (haha) I decided to just get my feet wet a little by sending a paper proposal to a conference Right Here in Town. That way I could just give my measly little paper and then if everyone was mean to me, I could come home and sit on my couch and cry with my dogs and husband as comforting presences. So I did that and it was fine and I didn't have to cry about it.

But that wasn't a "major conference" and these kinds of things matter.

Like there are "all grad student conferences" and those are just not even worth doing. No point in putting them on your CV. Not worth the effort.

Then there is The Major Conference -- the MLA (Modern Language Association) which is a huge deal and it's the one everyone goes to and it's where the Big Job interviews happen and where the Big Names and Very Important Published People present their work.

Then there are the regional MLAs -- Midwest, Northeast, you get the idea. These are also major conferences but not as major as the MLA. Still, these are CV-worthy. So my advisor actually wrote "Yay!" in an e-mail when I forwarded her my acceptance to one of these and she rarely uses exclamation points (except when she writes "This sucks!" in the margins of my dissertation. Oh wait, that's me.).

Anyway, Other CV-worthy conferences are major organizations in one's particular discipline. So last fall I sent a paper proposal to the North American Victorian Studies Association. I was desperate to go to this conference. Tim Barringer was the keynote speaker and the conference was going to be at Wellsley and included a tour of their Pre-Raphaelite collection. I was So. All. About. It. I wanted to go sooooo much.

And... rejected.

They rejected me. I was very very sad and dejected and only slightly comforted when I later saw their schedule and recognized almost every name which means they were ALL Very Important Published People. Still, it really hurt my feelings. And I mean that in the most professional way possible.

So I pouted for several weeks and then we had the Very Bleak Job Seekers Meeting and then I went into OMG I Have to Get a Post Doc Panic Mode and I sent out three more paper proposals to regional MLA conferences, hoping I might get accepted to one of them and then my CV might be not quite so meager.

So now I have been accepted to two out of the three and haven't heard back from the third and I'm thinking...

* Great! Am awesome scholar with fascinating dissertation topic.
* Crap! Have to write a conference paper.
* Crap! Have to go to a conference and present my paper and then attempt to seem intelligent and speak coherently when asking questions about my paper.
* Crap! What if they ask a question I don't know?
* Crap! What if they ask NO questions thereby implying my paper was mind-numbingly boring?
* Crap! Have to book trips to far away places and wait (hope, pray) to be reimbursed for travel expenses!
* Crap! Will insist that husband accompany me so that if they are mean to me I can cry in hotel room and he can be comforting presence therefore we have to pay for him to fly also.
* Crap! Must find dog sitter.
* Hmm. Wonder if they will have free drinks?

Obviously the stressors far outweigh the little part of me that is happy I got accepted to the conference. Free drinks might help.

No comments:

Post a Comment