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Delightful Chaos: Why Do We Do It?

For the last couple weeks I have been spottily scheming and creating a plan of attack for my MLA-Mosiac’16 trip. I had signed up for two CEs, downloaded the app (which has not-literally saved my life), studied the program like a good little academic and made notes, jumped through all of my institution’s travel hoops, and made a unfortunately not-so-small ‘To Pack’ list as well as ‘To Do’ list; all of which in preparation for my week in lovely Toronto. I walked into this week knowing my plate was full and I honestly wanted it no other way (By-the-way: no regrets). There are so many interesting and applicable topics, discussions, etc. that I want to take back to my institution and rock their world. In addition, I want to build my network and continue meeting amazing people. Plus, Toronto is an astonishing city that I had never visited before and I wanted to experience the culture, the food, and must-see places: Tim Hortons included. So my list was/is/will always be extensive.

So what is delightful chaos in relation to my conference experience? I will describe this phenomenon as I would a complex dish. First, for the main focus you have information overload mixed with over-stimulation that lies on a bed of taking notes like a lunatic because the whole program is just so enticing. On the side, you have a generous portion of networking drizzled with a slight anxiety of forgetting names of influential colleagues. The entire dish is finished with a constant need for caffeine while simultaneously dealing with the fact that you are on high-alert for absorbing the next, amazing idea. Am I the only one that experiences this? I can’t be and I know I’m already looking forward to diving back in.

Although, my description may sound like only a crazy person would throw themselves into that kind of situation, but in truth, that could not be more opposite. And I know there are thousands of professions out there that also host conferences, so why do we (professionals) do it? Why do I do it? But most importantly, WHY I’m I so excited about experiencing this chaos again?

There is this energy that you can only experience when you gather passionate people in a room to talk about the very thing they are passionate about. There have been several instances where I am sitting in on a talk or presentation and I look around the room and I see people nodding together, clapping, smiling and I know we are all connecting to what that speaker is conveying about our profession. That is very powerful. That electricity and sense of togetherness does not follow us throughout our work week routinely, unfortunately. So we as professionals, and as passionate people, need to plug into that energy to recharge- to regain that sense of excitement and creativity about our jobs; which in our case is simply unabashed service to the medical and health fields.

In addition and in response to my earlier note of ‘taking notes like a lunatic’ I have already learned so much in my time here. Not only specific applications to my work as a subject librarian, but also to my idea of what a medical/health librarian is and does. How to better represent myself and be an advocate. I have learned other perspectives and ways of doing something I do every day; which is insanely valuable for looking at my professional goals more broadly. My networking skills have enhanced and have made note of presentation strategies for future reference. So with this dynamite combination of passionate energy and satisfaction of my internal life-long learner, I’m hooked. And I know I’m not alone.

SO as I continue navigating through the second half of this delightful, chaotic conference, I look forward to filling my plate a little too full and soaking up the amazing ideas and people around me. Who needs naps? (Okay… I need naps, but I will nap responsibly or on the plane.)

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