I’ve thought about the best way to write this post and for some reason it’s not coming together in my head as well as it could so let’s make this sort of a multiple choice type etiquette question thingy – for lack of a better term.
The situation: (Not the one on Jersey Shore – though there were some similarities)
You are an undergrad presenting a poster at a state conference. You are surrounded by other undergrads, grad students, senior faculty and researchers, as well as a few industry professionals. All of whom would be amazing sources for networking since that’s really the idea of the weekend. It’s a tough field for those already looking for a job. Also, because you’re presenting a poster, your room is paid for by the state chapter of this particular professional organization.
Given that, you:
A) Stay by your poster as requested to discuss your research, impress your future references and build connections. You might get a glass of wine or beer since it IS a social after all but you keep it in moderation. At least until after the poster session. Nobody can expect you to be a saint when they’re all drinking as well. Dinner is in a couple of hours and by then the pressure will be off.
B) Begin drinking immediately and do not stop. Ever. Continue until you’re bordering on “knee walkin’ drunk” by 3:00pm. Yell to others across the room and ask where they’re from. When they tell you they’re from a small technical school nearby, yell “Where???” as loudly as you can. When they tell you it’s about 15 minutes east of where you currently are, laugh loudly, give them a look like they’re losers and turn to talk to someone more interesting. If you come across a handsome foreign exchange student, grab him by the arm, fawn over him and drag him over to stand by your poster with you. Do not let him leave no matter how bad it looks like he wants to get away. Try to spill as much wine as possible during this time.
*Once the poster session is over and it’s time for dinner, you are free of your responsibilities but are still in a room of only 30-40 people. Again you are still among people who future employers will call for references.
A) Enjoy a nice dinner and get to know the faculty at your table on a more personal level. Your spouse is with you so this would also be a good time for you both to build those connections. You also have 2 children who are classmates and semi- friends of children of some of the faculty. They know several of the same people and teachers that you know. There will be a talk following dinner by a regional person in a fantastic research facility – doing similar research as the poster you presented earlier. Pay attention and get to know this guy!! There is never a better time to make a good impression. It’s a great evening. Whew, you made it! You can move to the bar and hot springs and cut loose.
B) Continue to drink as much as possible. Make comments to the person next to you about breastfeeding. Mention that you still enjoy breastfeeding your husband whenever possible so that the entire table can hear. Pound the table and laugh because boy are you funny!! If there is a lull in the conversation while people are eating, now would be a good time to start groping your spouse – he’s easy to entice since he’s kept up with you drink for drink. Put your hand in his lap and work it while he puts his hand in your shirt and works on getting those buttons undone. Get him to yell “Release the boobies!!” People will love that! Continue to drink all through the talk. Try to trip over yourself a few times while getting another. When the night is over and you’re leaving, make one more lasting impression – drop a beer by the only exit making sure it explodes all over everything and creates a big scene. Get ushered quietly from the room but plan on staying in the hot springs and drinking until early morning. Make sure they won’t soon forget you!
This would be a good time to mention I am NOT the undergrad presenting the poster.
Science guy is taking the “what happens at the meetings stays at the meeting” approach when other faculty members tell him they’ve heard stories and ask him about the weekend. I prefer to share it with you!