I will hopefully have a series of posts related to the Evolution 2013 meeting, which was absolutely fantastic (and not just because of this incredible drawing related to my talk!) This first post is just a quick one, but it’s something that struck me while walking around at the meeting. As a grad student, if I was wandering around alone during a break and didn’t see anyone I knew, I felt really self-conscious – like it was a sign that I was such a n00b and hardly knew anyone at the meeting. I was sure other people noticed. At Evolution this year, I realized that I probably still spend the same amount of time wandering around alone, but I no longer feel self-conscious about it. And, I’m sure that I passed plenty of people who were wandering around alone, too, but it’s not something I really noticed or processed.
In talking to a few people about this since returning, it sounds like this is a relatively common shift. So, for the younger members of our readership: if you find yourself wandering around on your own at a meeting and feel self-conscious: don’t. It’s normal. No one will notice. But, if you see someone who you’d like to talk to, go ahead and introduce yourself. I talked with a few grad students who came up to introduce themselves to me at Evolution this year, and really enjoyed all those conversations.