Panic is Where the Poster is Not

Had you spoken to me last night at approximately midnight, I would have told you that I was a complete and utter failure as a student.

It took approximately ten hours for me to realize this, but I accidently left my poster behind in the cab. My one reason for being in San Jose, for spending all this money, time, and effort to be here, gone with the cabbie that dropped me off.

In a panic, I phoned the cab company and explained my situation. I have to say that I have never heard so much sympathy. The guy who I spoke with was very nice, but unfortunately, told me that I probably wouldn’t see my poster ever again. I begged him to do what he could, and was assured that he would put out a call to the cabbies and see if he could help.

At that point, I called my mother and explained my pain and frustration through gasps and tears and was repeatedly told to “Calm down.” After all, what was done is done, and crying won’t fix it. Thankfully, I had both Stacey and Derek to talk me through it and distract me enough until I started to fall asleep while talking to them, so I went to bed and managed to sleep.

At 5 AM, I heard a sound. An annoying sound, horrible sound, pulling me from my wonderful sleep on the most amazing bed I have ever slept on (I must say it is the BEST). The horrible sound was actually the glorious trumpeting of the phone call that would reaffirm my faith in humanity. The cab company had my poster and it was on its way.

So yes, I was able to present my poster and all was good. I didn’t get many visitors to my station, but that’s okay because I didn’t expect to. You see, the AAA’s is more focused on anthropology, so of course archaeology takes a back seat in the first place. Then introduce a highly specialized technology (X-Ray Powder Diffraction) and couple it with an under-studied region such as Nicaragua. This causes not only the “deer-in-head-lights” response but also a general disinterest.

Those who did come by and see my presentation were interested and certainly seemed impressed, which was nice to see. I was really worried when one archaeologist walked up and after exchanging names, he quickly informed me that he has used and works with XRD all the time. This scared me a little, as I was worried he would tell me I had done everything wrong and my life would be over. But he didn’t. He said it looked good. I was so relieved.

There was only one person who seemed to have a problem with my research, and it seemed that it was more my age that he had a problem with rather than any research methodology. We had the following conversation:

Me: Hello, if you have any questions, please let me know.
Him: Thanks… You a grad student?
Me: No, I’m still an undergraduate.
Him: Yeah, but you’ve at least finished your undergrad?
Me: No. I will convocate next summer.
Him: Well, aren’t you ambitious to be presenting at the AAA’s. [Walks away]

What a jerk.

So, all in all, not too shabby of a conference, but I am looking forward to going home. It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster.

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