GHC is now less than a month away, and I've been trying my best to keep up with what's going on in various places. But as the conference looms closer, I've seen several comments about worried first-time GHC attendees: whether they are nervous about being in a foreign country, anxious about meeting such amazing women, or intimidated about coming alone.
It's hard to imagine because it is such a different experience (one perhaps many of us are unused to), but GHC brings together such a diverse group of women, from so many backgrounds, fields, and occupations (students, industry people, academics) that it really would be hard to find yourself out of place. Last year, I felt an amazing sense of community almost immediately upon arrival at the hotel, and I've read accounts from other attendees who have expressed similar sentiments.
It's easy to meet people too! Last year's GHC was my first, and I was pretty new to networking at conferences. But I met people and made some lasting friendships in some unexpected places. For example, a few of us were staying in a condo and had some extra room, so we advertised on the Facebook GHC group for additional occupants. We found two lovely girls from Toronto and we are still in touch today! We had an awesome time and I learned a lot from them. There were some other students from my own school that I hadn't really had a chance to talk to before, and I got to know them much better as well. Sharing a room, car, or making travel plans together is a great way to meet new friends, and if you are looking to try it out, there is a new discussion topic on this year's Facebook group for just this purpose, so check it out!
There will also be lots of other opportunities to meet people informally, whether you are chatting between sessions, enjoying the banquet, or partying at the Sponsor Night (speaking of which, does anyone have any theories about this year's party?). If you are a Hopper, get to know your fellow Hoppers! Attend the lunches, or make a point of chatting to your neighbour at breakfast. You won't be disappointed!
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6 months ago