It's the last week of class before finals week. In about two weeks I'll have my master's degree in positive developmental psychology and will be embarking on the arduous path that eventually (hopefully) culminates in a PhD. Before any of that there still remains 3 papers, 3 exams, and 2 presentations. Given that information, you would think I'd lock myself in the library for the foreseeable future.
However, I'm currently sitting in a Starbucks in Manhattan after arriving on a cross-country red-eye flight from Los Angeles. That's about 3,000 miles away from where I probably should be a week before finals. Instead, I'm getting ready to attend my first 99U conference. I've been reading 99U (formerly the 99%) for a long time and have always found it thought provoking and developmental in my own work. I first heard about one of my favorite books, The Power of Full Engagement, from a talk that happened at a past 99U conference. When I saw there was an application to become a "99U Fellow" a few months ago I had to at least apply. My expectations were low but it turns out I earned one of the few positions and therefore was able to buy a drastically reduced ticket for this year's conference. And voila, here I am.
If I wanted to be a "good" student I probably wouldn't be here. I'm missing two classes and hours of productive time. That's an undergraduate mentality, though. Coming to an event like this that will expose me to interesting ideas and people is the type of thing that pays off down the road. As a PhD student, my job is to develop good ideas, cultivate them, and see them to fruition. Coming to a conference with the tagline, "Insights on making ideas happen," may be the best thing I can do.