That last post from Congress was really whiny. In fact, it didn't really reflect the goodness that the conference represented for me. (I do have another whiny post brewing, unfortunately - but for now, the positive!)
It was good because though there seemed to be some incomprehensible stuff on the program, the few sessions M and I actually chose to go to were really top-quality. Really. They excited me about the state of the discipline in Canada. I left yesterday morning's session in particular feeling absolutely invigorated. It's not often that I feel that way at a conference - so entirely positive.
And I made some good connections with some lovely new people.
But perhaps the most positive aspect of my experience at Congress was that I felt myself taking my place at the table. I have spent the last two years at two different universities, on contractual Visiting Appointments. I didn't realize until Congress just what a difference it makes to my state of my mind and sense of myself, to be about to step into a tenure-track job. I feel as if I can take up some space in the profession, you know? I feel like I can contribute to it, shape it, claim it. It wasn't until I felt this way that I realized how lacking that feeling was before now. The stresses and uncertainty of contractual work meant that even though I'd passed the hurdle of a PhD and was called "Professor," I still felt suspended -- almost like a grad student...(I am remembering that Flavia had a post some months ago about this feeling of being recognized as a mature scholar...as is often the case, I am just confirming the brilliant Flavia!)
So, for instance, I was able to talk with a close friend of M's - the one who did the fab presentation yesterday morning, who is a fairly well-known and important person - about perhaps bringing her all the way out to my new Uni to give a talk. I will have the ability to make decisions like that (contigent on funding, of course), especially because of the shaping/admin role I will also have at my new job. And another scholar who blew me away is someone I can imagine hiring when another post comes open in a year or two...I will keep in touch with her and alert her to the post whenever it becomes available. I would never have thought like that before. And I realize how nice it is to do so.
And, notwithstanding the ex-friend who hates me, who could well be spreading nasty and, I can only imagine, unfounded rumours about me across the country and discipline, it is nice to be able to plant myself firmly in the Association as if I am someone who might matter within it.