Getting ready for Denver: what you should be doing now

Denver USA Interstate Highway SignAre you heading to Denver this weekend? If so, you are joining one of the largest professional gatherings in the country—over 13,000 professionals and 1,000 undergraduates presenting over 10,000 papers. In other words, imagine every student from Harvard, MIT, and the University of Denver all together in one convention center.

Not only is it crowded, it can be a little overwhelming. But the Reactions blog is here to help. Today, we’ll go over what you need to be doing right now to prepare for the national meeting. (What to do once you get there will come later.)

Prepare your presentation

Whether you are doing a poster or oral presentation, by now you should have it pretty well in hand. If you still need some tips, ACS student members can check out the webinar recordings, Tips for Creating High Impact Scientific Poster Presentations and Delivering a Dynamic Presentation. You can find even more advice in the following:

Be sure to practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the easier it will be to talk about your research or student chapter, no matter how nervous you are. And remember to bring along some business cards.

Book your travel

If you haven’t done so already, make whatever plane, train, or bus reservations you need. Delta, United, Southwest, and Amtrak all have discounts for meeting registrants. (You’ve already registered for the meeting, right?)

The hotels and convention center are close and parking is expense; save money by skipping the rental car and walking through Denver. (You can book a Supershuttle to get to and from the airport.)

Although the discount hotels have sold out of rooms, you can still reserve an official ACS hotel room and be entered in a drawing for a Kindle or iPad. Share the room with a buddy to cut costs.

Dust off your suit

You are about to present research, show off your student chapter, meet industry and graduate school recruiters, and network with the big kids. If you want to be taken seriously, you’ll need to look the part.

Get out a decent suit or at least a nice jacket/button-down shirt/slacks (or skirt) combo for presentation today. Think khakis, slacks, and conservative skirts for the rest of your meeting time. Nothing screams, “Hey, I’m a student—don’t take me seriously,” like a T-shirt and jeggings. (Of course, you can always change when you leave the meeting and tour the rest of Denver.)

If your good clothes don’t fit or have tears or stains, get new ones! It’s a rare student who can’t afford J.C. Penny, Target, or even a thrift store.

And leave the flip-flops at home. Invest in some good, comfortable leather shoes that look smart and can handle all the walking you are about to do.

See you there!

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