You probably guessed it from the title, I am attending the European Society of Criminology conference this week. Just arrived in the very picturesque Münster, welcomed by blue skies and glorious sunshine, so not a bad start really. I am feeling a bit anxious about my stay here, mainly because it’s the first time I’ve spend more than 1 day away from my little one. Those of you who read Does Gender Matter? will know that I have chosen to put motherhood before conference attendance so I’m feeling slightly uneasy about being away. Nevertheless, I have a job to do, I have to present some research I was involved in, that was the condition of the funding received (although it would have been nice for one of my research team colleagues to come with me, but that’s another story), and it will probably be good for me to network a little and hear about some very fascinating research. I am blessed to live in a technological age where at least I can video call back home, making the distance a little less painful.
I am also very anxious about attending the conference, the presentation for me is the easy bit, I get to tell people about research I love doing and showcase my abilities beyond building Peppa Pig lego, that’s the enjoyable bit. The stress for me comes during the in-between bits, you know those corridor chats, coffee breaks and waiting to go into the plenary talks. One of two things normally happen, either I see a face I know and rush over as though they’re a long lost family member and cling to them like glue, or I stand staring a my phone, appearing to by busy because I’m ashamed to admit I have the networking skills of a tasmanian devil. At times I actually envy those smokers, all huddled outside, but as isolated as I’ve often felt at conferences I can’t justify lighting up for the sake of conversation. I haven’t touched a cigarette since my early school days, so I’m guessing even if I did try it, I would probably look more idiotic than just staring at my phone. I haven’t really worked out my strategy yet, I’m going to just meander along to registration and see what happens, I’m sure they’ll be faces I know and I’ll probably try to talk to someone, say something most inappropriate and just walk away. Over ten years of conference attendance and I’m still pretty useless at it, so any PhDs or Post-docs reading this, don’t worry even experienced academics can feel very out of place in their own territory.
For now, I am here in my delightful hotel, unpacking the toothbrush and trying to figure out the map to get me to the conference venue. I can’t do anything about the fact I miss my little one, so I just have to make the most of it while I am here and Skype when I can. So with map in hand I’m off and let’s keep everything crossed I get to registration in one piece!