'tis that time of year again when the pressure seems to build inexorably. Oral presentations and posters have to be prepared; Board reports need writing; capital expenditure estimates need completing and arguing; teaching commitments are back into full swing. All make for a busy life. And then there are the day to day routines. It is a full-on time of year whichever way you look at it. No matter the promises made last year to be more organised this year, to remain in control, the pattern seems to repeat itself.
Many of us are looking forward to meeting up in Sydney for the Annual Scientific Meeting. Our ASM is a very important event in the Society's life. It is an opportunity to network, to learn, to relax and to become involved. To me it will be like the ripcord on the parachute - pull it and free-fall is replaced by a gentle drift back towards reality. That is an important aspect of the ASM - a chance to pull free of the daily grind and find rejuvenation amongst the ideas, vision, inspiration and camaraderie of others. In fact, I believe this is the fundamental reason for holding the ASM.
The personal benefit of attending the ASM will depend on what you are prepared to put into it. For me it is important to make myself available to discuss issues pertaining to the Web-site; to be available to any who may like to discuss ideas for research or any other matter where it would be nice to throw ideas around over a beer or three; to be available to discuss concepts of mentoring and how it may be set up either on an individual basis or formally through the Society (this is not to pre-empt any decision on this subject by the Board). In essence I want to be available to share my experience with others and in the process will learn a lot more from them. The Scientific sessions of the meeting are of secondary importance to me.
Personal growth and development requires a bold step from an individual. It is often hard to overcome that hesitation about making yourself known to the "names" in the Society - I have been there and still find it hard to initiate a conversation - but you must believe that what you have to say is important and senior members of the Society will be happy to discuss issues with you, and to share their experience. It is the sense of family engendered within our Society that first got me hooked. Despite my dumb questions at the first meeting I attended in Adelaide, many moons ago now, I was never once made to feel ignorant, stupid or not worth talking to. For someone new to the field that is a great welcome. Come on in, make some new friends and share your ideas, your frustration and your dreams.
Roll on Sydney. The parachute is packed and my hand is firmly on the ripcord. I hope some others will join me in drifting free of the day to day and sharing ideas and visions over a beer. I am looking forward to feasting on new ideas so please don't hesitate to come on over and start that conversation.
See you in Sydney,