Ghosts of Conferences Past

As I sit here unable to sleep and not yet packed even though I am leaving later today, I started thinking about my experiences from previous NECC/ISTE conferences. Still a relative newbie to other attendees, each conference was a completely different experience for me. Looking back there were some lessons I learned that will hopefully make ISTE 2011 in Philly an even better experience.

San Antonio 2008: Complete Newbie
I sat at home online when I read about NECC in Atlanta and was determined I needed to go to this conference the following year. It was an overwhelming experience, I was too afraid to talk to anyone, and I was completely worn out trying to go to every session. Despite those three factors, I enjoyed the trip. The Riverwalk was so much fun and I loved the history of San Antonio.

D.C. 2009: In my neighborhood
This was the conference where I ventured into the Bloggers' Cafe and learned more there than most of the sessions I attended. I attempted to get over the shyness and that only happened in spurts. There was a new problem, I spent too much time with people I knew and worked with in the district. I love them, but I missed out on a lot of new connections.

Denver 2010: New Adventure
Third time around I felt a little more confident and I actually presented. I had a lot of fun because I said, "yes" more often than "no." This was the first time I had a room mate and I think that pushed me to venture out more. There were times that others diminished my confidence, but I blame myself for that.

So what can I gather from all this:
1. I do have a room mate this year.
2. I have said, "yes" to a lot already and "no" will be erased from my vocabulary.
3. Since the conference is close to home, I will limit my time with work colleagues.
4. I will take time to enjoy the city, even though I have been to Philly many times.
5. Balance sessions with informal conversations.
6. I am gonna be me and not worry about what others think.

May Philly 2011 be the best conference so far.