Well it is all over 'til next time. I trust a good time was had by all. No doubt the ideas have been summarised, plans drawn up and the enthusiasm meters all show FULL across all labs.
The NZ LOC certainly turned on a great collection of presentations with virtually everything being of interest. In fact therein lies my biggest problem. There was too much on to allow time to meet one on one with people, the Trade, particularly overseas principals, regarding instrumentation issues, and other members regarding Society business. The only way to hold such meetings was to choose a session to skip. This left me with the strong feeling, nay knowledge, I had really missed something. Once upon a time it was possible to miss a session and not feel you had missed something important. This state of affairs reflects the very high quality of presentations by members and the depth of interest and knowledge of members in the choice of guest speakers. Our colleague from Cork, Maria, echoed the same sentiment when observing "At the European meetings you can skip sessions without really missing anything, but here every presentation counts.
I guess that maturity plays a role in the paucity of "non-session" time as well. Not so long ago, I well remember sitting and discussing ideas and issues with people until the early hours of the morning following the dinner. No more can the body handle that. Sleep has assumed a much greater importance than it used to have!
What we each get out of the ASM is very individual. We should, however, each ensure that we advance further down our career path as a result of attending the meeting. This may be a case of increasing our knowledge base, of establishing a wider peer network, of developing research ideas or of finding solutions to problems we may have in our own labs. Identifying, and noting, how the meeting helped you is important in a couple of ways. Firstly, it helps the development of your strategic plan for implementing and pursuing ideas you might have developed at the meeting. Secondly, it helps in terms of being able to identify the benefits to your lab of your attendance at the meeting. This could prove very useful when applying for support to attend next year.
Yes, I found the meeting tiring but stimulating. It was great to catch up with NZers I hadn't seen for some time and of course it was a nice change to hear all the Australian accents around the venue. Of course I have come home with too many jobs to do so will have to be more than usually well organised. Isn't it strange how the ASM always seems to up the ante.
Unfortunately WA seems to have softened me up as I spent the first week back off work sick. Clearly a Kiwi bug I brought home. I had forgotten how tough they breed 'em on the other side of the ditch.
'til next month,