TSC: Got a Ticket for my Destination

All my (mis)conceptions about scientific conferences, and I have attended a few, have been shattered last week.

When I had first seen the list of plenary speakers for the Toward a Science of Consciousness conference, I immediately knew I would enjoy my week in Tucson, Arizona.  Nonetheless, I remained just a little nervous–what was my place?  An undergraduate who didn’t even have a poster to present.  Would I be able to keep up a conversation with an expert in the field?  Could I even force myself to approach strangers older and more knowledgeable than I?

As I arrived in Arizona on Monday, April 9, the excitement and anxiety both heightened.  But in the shuttle on the way to the resort, I found myself having an easy enough conversation with a forensic scientist as the cacti floated past outside the window.

We finally made it to the hotel, and, finding the temperature far too high for a hike, I made my way to the pool.  Even before commencing my swim, I had already conversed with another attendee of the conference.  In later discussions, I learned that he was interested in spiritual experiences, and had travelled all around the globe.  This isn’t too hard.  Relieved, I jumped into the refreshing water and swam the circumference of the pool a few times.  Then I noticed a woman reading a booklet with the TSC logo.  I sat down on a nearby pool-chair, and we talked for the next few hours.

Eventually, she had to leave to one of the “pre-conference talks”, and I changed into dry clothes and went to have a salad, refusing the drinks a waitress insisted I order, after which, jetlagged, I fell straight asleep.

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