March 2017 President's Corner

March 2017 President's Corner

It’s hard to believe that this will be my third AudiologyNOW! (AN!) conference. I can still remember, as if it were yesterday, the mixed emotions of excitement and fear that swept over me when I attended the conference in San Antonio, TX as a first year AuD student. Not only were there a myriad of different opportunities available to me (all of which sounded awesome), but I, too, had never seen so many audiologists, many of whom I revered and aspired to become. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed in the best and worst of ways; however, over the last couple of years, I’ve acquired some helpful tips based upon my experiences to help you prepare for and make the most of your conference experience in Indianapolis this year!

Preparation is Key!
I strongly recommend you check out the Conference Planner and AN! 2017 App (available through the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace). Not only will these tools help you explore opportunities available to you at the conference, but they can help you compose a “conference skeleton” that can serve as a rough map to help navigate your conference experience. The Conference Planner allows you to sort through events by topic area, should there be specific areas of audiology that most interest you, and you can also favorite (i.e., star) those events you plan to attend so you can then print out your own personalized schedule afterwards. You should know that some sessions, specifically Grand Rounds and some highly-anticipated Featured Sessions (e.g., Marion Downs Lecture for Pediatric Audiology), often fill quickly, so it would be in your best interest to arrive to these particular sessions early to ensure your “seat at the table.”

Ensure Your Experience Is Diverse!
As you’ll soon learn (if you haven’t already), the breadth of opportunity available to you is quite vast. While the student programming is going to be stellar this year, be sure to challenge yourself as a growing student and soon-to-be professional as well with some of the more advanced sessions. I remember attending some rather advanced learning modules during my first AN! experience and, while a majority of the material was above my head, I was amazed at how much of it stuck in my memory when I took coursework on the topic later on in my graduate program. Additionally, don’t be afraid to check out a session in an area that you may not currently have a great deal of interest about, as the speaker may open your eyes to the topic you may never thought to consider. In short, stretch yourself and embrace the opportunity to challenge yourself!

It’s All About The Shoes!
I will openly admit to all of you the worst mistake I made when I attending my first AN! conference in San Antonio, TX. Naturally, I wanted to look sharp, as you never know who you might run into and/or what opportunities may present themselves to you throughout the course of the conference. I bought a stellar pair of new Cole Haan dress shoes two weeks before attending the conference, but had never actually worn them prior to break them in. I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say that I spent a great deal of my first conference experience limping around with bloody heels from horrible blisters that not even the cushioned band-aid patches from Walgreens could heal. Needless to say, dress professionally, but comfortably. Also, as I’ve come to learn, layers are quite handy as the temperature can often fluctuate from room to room.  

Here! Take My Card!
As I alluded to previously, you never know just who you might run into at AN!. Perhaps you’ll strike up a conversation with your future preceptor for an intern/externship or even your future boss! In either case, having a method to leave your contact information (and a great impression) on such an individual would surely be in your best interest. For this reason, I strongly recommend that you carry a handful of resumes or personalized business cards on you at all times in the event that these types of interactions occur (as they likely will). Not only will it streamline the networking experience with other students and professionals, but it, too, makes for a memorable first impression that could work to your advantage later on. One last thought regarding this topic: simplicity is your best friend. In other words, don’t pull an Elle Woods and hand out pink, scented resumes. Think readable and classy and let the in-person interaction be the impression that makes the memory.

Collect $100 and Celebrate All that You’ve Accomplished in 2016-2017!
The national SAA has worked tirelessly to incorporate student feedback from previous conferences so that we can make your conference experience this year better than ever. That said, there are a wealth of new opportunities available this year you should definitely check out including 7 Student Workshops, a newly revamped and re-imagined SAA Conference, and the inaugural Student Leaders in Audiology Conference (SLAC). Be sure to check out these and many other student events in the conference planner. One my personal favorite student meetings is the SAA Membership meeting, which will be held on Thursday, April 6 from 12:30-1:30PM. This meeting is a wonderful opportunity to review national SAA activities, share your local chapter experiences with other individuals from chapters all over the country, and discuss other pertinent topics of interest in our field currently. Additionally, and here’s one of the most exciting parts, each chapter with a representative present at this meeting will be reimbursed $100! Yep! That’s free money, kids!  So be sure to attend this meeting for some great conversation, celebration, and, again, free money for your chapter!

If you have any other helpful tips or tricks that you’d like to share with students, be sure to post them to the SAA Facebook Page or utilize the Audiology Student Community to share your thoughts!

It has been a true pleasure to chat with, “e-meet,” and interact with so many of you throughout the course of this year. I look forward to putting faces to many of the names and emails I’ve seen in our various interactions. I hope you’ll be sure to take a moment or two to say hello and tell me about your conference experience while in Indianapolis. Until then, safe travels!

Cheers (For Ears),
Joshua Huppert, SAA President