I remember my first Ed conferences three years ago. It was a chance opening for another male so that we filled every room we were renting. That first year I was a wanderer just floating between sessions absorbing it like a sponge. I was handed an iPad to use for the conference only two weeks before it began.
However, the conference (MACE) was hard to establish a bond. The 50-minute sessions were rushed and constantly changing. It wasn't until Podstock that summer that I started to blossom out of my introvert shell. I had no clue. I didn't know about the vendor dinner. The moonlight madness. Nothing.
Last year was the first year I fully participated. I finally acted like family at the precon weighing in on topics, building a Batmobile for the pinewood derby, even dressing up as Superman and going to the dinner too. I get it now!
I had so much more fun that this year I did tons of research with friends and made several Themed Accessories for the day. I applied to be a presenter and even was accepted!
This year Podstock 2015 is Steampunk Themed. Think Wild Wild West - victorian with industrial - clothing.
My Advice for Fellow Introverts
1: Ask Questions.
This is the core of the Growth Mindset. You learn by doing and asking. If you just sit and get you won't maximize your learning. You can always ask afterwards too when eyes are off the presenter or exchange social media accounts.
2. Find a Friend.
Do not be afraid to find someone new and talk. Your comfort level goes way up if you know who you sit next to. Don't be afraid to find new people, but don't latch on to the same crew every time.
3. Dabble in the NEW
Last year I sat in on a great Vendor presentation from Two Trees on their 3D printers. They answered tons of questions about the process and design setup so I can dabble with it in the future. Experiment and study what is interesting!
There is a variety of drinks/snacks you can access but be prepared to roll out for lunch. If you have food allergies research ahead of time or you will get stuck in a restaurant with no REAL choices for lunch. I still had fun with the group I went with but I didn't have a real meal.
I am a 2nd Grade teacher with years of experience in digital editing and film. I have a 2nd Degree Black Belt, am a professional wedding photographer, and instruct fine art painting classes.