Everyone is back from the SVP annual meeting and there's so many blog posts in the works! I've been reading as much as possible about the meeting and looking at photos, many of which picture people whose names I know and whose faces I'm not familiar with. It's fascinating, this little community of paleontologists. They're brilliant and funny and completely nerdy! I feel right at home. It's exactly the field I want to study, with exactly the right kind of people. And I'm starting to feel like it's within my reach...which is nice, since I'm still so fresh and it all seems so far away.
I've been thinking a lot about networking and how important it is. I actually started networking around age 12, when I decided that being a paleontologist way outweighed my other dream of being a movie star. It wasn't too long after Jurassic Park had come out (mind you, the dream of studying paleontology was around long before!!!) and I was getting regular issues of the "Dino Times." In one particular issue there was an interview with Peter Dodson. The article mentioned that Dr. Dodson worked at the University of Pennsylvania and I got on my detective hat and found his address. Over the course of three months or so, I regularly sent Dr. Dodson my drawings and he regularly sent me drawings as well, along with some advice on pursuing a career in paleontology.
Now, thirteen years later, I am still networking. I started off by joining the DML, though I've been mostly a lurker, since I don't have enough of an education to really contribute to the discussion. I've met paleo-bloggers of all ages and education levels, from all over the world. I've applied for membership to SVP, befriended paleontologists on Facebook andMyspace and started this here blog.
My hope is that next year, when I can afford to attend the annual SVP meeting, I'll go there and feel right at home. That way, my anxiety won't get in the way of my experience and I'll go home even more excited than ever.
Also, my new favorite keyword search that brings people to my blog: bacteria sweater.