Conference Chronicles

Conference Chronicles

Day1: Super Productive

May 15, 2024, 7:17 AM
Marjorie A. Maido

Marjorie A. Maido


The crisp laughter of the audience did not startle me. I was scribbling something on my notes as I tried to look serious about my task as a conference moderator. My gosh, all the conferences I have attended were super boring.

But what do you expect from the super nerdy academicians and scholars who want to be recognized as some kind of an “expert” in the field? They take things seriously. Don’t get me to the networking sessions, too. All they ever talked about was their paper, their studies, and their struggling careers. Sometimes, I wish a sinkhole would just appear and eat us all.

I was observing my surroundings. The conference hall was great, just enough for around fifty participants. Pretty much an intimate group, supposedly. 

Ljubljana in June of 2019 was rainy, but not something that could ruin my trip. It was the first day of the conference and after lunch, I was tasked to moderate the session on Multifaceted Challenges of Migrations. It was not my first time to present a paper, but I was eager to meet scholars in the field. I came in early with a classmate, bumped into other participants, and made friends. 

Super productive first day. 

So going back to that moderating job, a young scholar from Belgrade presented her paper. I loved her paper but her presentation is like a 30-minute tourism campaign. When the timer rang, she finished her talk, and I butted in that I needed to stop her, otherwise, we are packing up and might as well visit Belgrade. 

It looks pretty fun than this conference. Haha! And so, the audience laughed. Nice. At least intelligent people do get the jokes. And nicer that they know how to laugh. 

It was my classmate’s first conference, by the way. With her quite controversial paper, she grabbed the attention of the President of the sponsoring organization. I was in awe, just thinking, that I was with him in that very room. 

The open forum became an exchange of feisty words. Emotions were high. This President was trying to correct my classmate, pointing out she was misleading the people with her findings. 

Nobody could argue against the President as he was studying the same topic for decades. He was trying to explain it to my classmate, too. He humbly offered to mentor her, and I was shocked as my friend declined. I attend conferences to learn new things, to network, and to enjoy. 

But yeah, that first day ended with me curling up on a King-size bed with a crying friend on another bed, whimpering the whole night. I was supposed to feel the cool breeze that night, as rain drizzled over the stained-glass windows of our room. 

I was done with my presentation, and I got the job done. But yeah, some people are serious about life. I get it. 

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