A lot of people have been saying you must go, you have to go, it’s of great benefit if you attend.
What am I talking about? Why only the biggest marine mammal conference in the world! The 2013 Society for Marine Mammalogy Conference. It just happens to be occurring in three weeks time in the Southern Hemisphere where I currently happen to be (lucky me)! I have however already changed various versions of my plans several times over in the last few months and really needed to consider whether it was going to be a mistake not to go! I mean obviously I wanted to go! It would be a dream come true, to be surrounded by some of the best minds in the marine mammal world.
It was possible for me to go but, it would not be an easy or inexpensive endeavour, shall we say. Though what I could get out of it could be life changing (some may say)! However, not being currently being a student means that registration fees would be significant, plus the late registrations fees on top of that. Then comes accommodation, new flights, the changing of old flights, food (and gin), social events and if there are any good ones left $100 a pop workshops on the first weekend! Further to this given visa restrictions I have to get the hell out of Australia five days before the conference even starts so more time (and accommodation) in beautiful New Zealand!
I contemplated my decision a lot. Questioned the all knowledgable Facebook, contacted researchers I admired and respected, spoke to my friends, boyfriend and family and have come to the difficult decision to not go. Mainly due to logistics and timings. Going this time would get me home, to London, about five days before Christmas, after a four continent trek and the conference talks and poster presentation programme hasn’t even been released for me to peruse, yet! It was a tough decision, there were tears (of frustration and confusion) and lists. Would the conference change my life and if I missed it would I fail as a marine biologist…? Of course I wouldn’t! There will be more conferences and I will get to go to them. There will be more amazing talks and posters and workshops. I will miss out this time as no two conferences are ever going to be the same but, the next “BIG” one, it is in San Francisco and I am super excited for it. Maybe I will have a poster or even a talk, maybe I will just attend and listen to the leaders in my field talk, maybe just maybe it will be life changing!