Saturday, March 4, 2017

Real Adults Go to Conferences.

Finally.  My program is giving me a slight breather, and I can give some love to this blog. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in SLC.  The abbreviation for the conference is SCSECS, but that's still a mouthful, and they might as well include all the other letters of the alphabet. I presented in the Gender and Domesticity panel about The Coquette, an early American bestseller.
I was actually dreading the conference. I just wanted to go home instead, and I couldn't imagine anything stuffier and more boring than a few days with a bunch of intellectuals.  Luckily, I had several friends attend the conference, as well.  AND I felt like a million bucks when I made a reservation for my first hotel room alone. I felt like a real big girl. That was probably the most anticipated thing... and food. The Radisson makes good cheesecake and scones.

On my first day, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the panel presentations.  Some of them, as expected, were a bit dry, but others were engaging and interesting. I geeked out when a retired scholar passed around a second edition of a 1682 book.  It even smelled like antiquity.  I jumped on any opportunity to attend a panel in which American texts were featured and loved talking to those presenters.  The conference mostly attracted British literature scholars.  I saw several professors from BYU.  They introduced themselves to me and said, "How come I don't know you?" My response, "My studies are across the Atlantic," and then they would chuckle and walk away. Phhhht.

When I eventually checked into my room, I was excited.  The room was clean, big, and all mine.
I got lots of work done, and then my mom called me and asked how things were going. She casually asked me what my room number was, which I thought was weird.  And then she surprised me by knocking on my door and staying the night with me.  So as much as I enjoyed having a room to myself, I enjoyed my mom's surprise even more. (And she claims that she can't wait to get rid of me... ha. You bet your bloomers that my companionship is irresistible.)

The next day, I attended a few panels and went to City Creek for lunch with Mom.  I was excited she was there because she wanted to attend my panel.  I was afraid she would get in trouble because she didn't pay for registration, but nobody blinked an eye when she sat in.  She got a glimpse of what I do.  My presentation went well, I think. People were really gracious in their compliments, I didn't see any glazed eyeballs, and I held up really well during the Q&A.  The chair, Dr. Eyring, (and also my professor), asked the most difficult question.  After the panel, my mom said, "Honey, you did a really good job not answering Dr. Eyring's question.)

I am really happy with the experience, and I learned so much from scholars who shared their research and were actually interested (or pretended to be) in my studies. The BYU professor who organized the conference told me this week that I was born for this field, which only complicated the plans for my future even more.

And stay tuned for more about my thesis.  The game is on!

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