SICB was in Tampa, Florida this year, and it was amazing. Partly because it was warm and sunny. I’ve talked about previous SICBs before, so I’ll keep this short and sweet, and just hit on a few things.
The biggest change I noticed was in my friend circle. This was the first time at SICB that I knew people because I knew them and had relationships with them. Not because someone else I knew, knew them. I’m building up my own network, slowly but surely, rather than just tailgating off others’. It’s probably a small thing, overall, and I assume this is how it goes with every community. Use someone established as an entrée, and then slowly but surely built up your own network. Seems reasonable and common-sense, but now that I’m actually experiencing that growth….it feels awesome. It feels like tangible progress.
Regarding my presentation and my experience, it could have gone very similiarly to my first SICB presentation. I mismanaged my time last semester and all my research was done at the end, before Christmas break. And then all the data analysis was done during break and in the days leading up to SICB. And then creating my talk was done my last day in Boston. And then I was modifying slides and practicing up until the start of my session (1.30pm).
And yet, this experience came with almost none of the stress that accompanied my first SICB presentation, even though the timelines were nearly identical. I guess having been around the block, I felt more confidence in my ability to handle it, and knew what was expected.
I also received more positive comments on my talk for the rest of the conference than I recall for other talks. A few ‘fantastic!’s, even. My labmates’ feedback and help definitely improved the quality of the talk, and how it flowed as a story. Couldn’t have done it without them.
I volunteered to chair my session this year. And what a cool session it was. Robot Overlords.
The one caveat was: it was a full session, in a large room, and I was the only chair. At least at SICB, it’s common to have either a co-chair or, for first-time students, their adviser helping them. The responsibilities weren’t hard: check everyone in at the beginning of the session so you know who’s who (and double check name pronunciation); manage time and the change over, and introduce people and ask for questions.
The main issue I had with this was, I wasn’t first. It would have been so much better had I presented right off the bat, and then was able to relax and focus on chairing for the rest of the session. In fact, I was told that’s often how it’s set up, for this specific reason. However, this year that was rarely the case.
Instead, I had constant adrenaline spikes every time I had to stand up and talk in the room, and was torn between paying attention to chairing and thinking about my own slides. It was an hour of being on red-alert before my talk even started. I’ve never been that drained from a conference talk, and my first SICB talk was a hellish experience, so that’s saying something.
Now, I can say I’ve payed my dues back to the community and chaired a session, but I won’t jump to chair again.
There were two things about this SICB that I greatly appreciated. First, it was so damn colorful and beautiful. I didn’t take a lot, or the best, pics, but man, there were lot of breathtaking photos and slides.
Second, the session names were amazing.
- Broken Shells and Cooked Muscles
- Groovin’ as a Groupie – Population Ecology
- Stuck on You
- Stabby and Crunchy
- Going with the Unstable Flow
- Stress: It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
- Slytherin Snakes
- Doin’ it with Dinoflagellates
- Robot Overlords
- Ekoehlogical Biomechanics: A Tribute to Mimi Koehl
- Swimming, It’s a Drag
- Breaking the Surface
- Never Miss a Step
- Flies in the Honey
- Gonna Get a Leg Up
- Give and Go: Pushing Off and Moving Forward
- Livin’ the Vida Larva – Larval Ecology
- Dolphin vs. Tuna
- Dig Deep
- You Should Chew Your Food
- You Are What You Eat
- Squishy Swimmers
- Slippery Slope
- Up the Flow and Down the Hatch
- Flying Through Water and Swimming On Land
And then there was this bombshell:
So yeah, SICB was an absolute blast this year, and I’m looking forward to next year in Austin! See you then!