Fear Of Missing Out.
I have FOMO.
This week is the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Pittsburgh. I had a plane ticket, conference registration, hotel room and roommate, and presentation all ready to go.
But, two hospital stays, chronic hypertension in pregnancy, and the possibility of preeclampsia in pregnancy lingering will make you think twice about boarding a plane and traveling across the country.
Fear Of Missing Out can be a social anxiety, an apprehension that others may be having a rewarding experience from which one is absent. I am that absent one this conference or C’s as we attendees like to call it.
But, that fear, that anxiety of not knowing what is going on, what presentations are taking place, what free books might be available, the food and atmosphere in Pittsburgh, the interaction with colleagues and conversations about research interests has died down a bit.
You see, my dear friend Corrine is at C’s. We were to be roommates and conference buddies (because you always need a conference buddy at C’s), and we were presenting together on a panel about performance and conflict: interrogating patriotism, trauma, military service, and war. This is part of our veteran studies group, this is our research.
And while I am sitting in the comfort of my own home following along on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram the ins and outs of C’s, I am also in the loop thanks to Corrine. My presentation will be given during our panel (which is taking place right now). My colleagues are sharing my work and I couldn’t be more proud to be friends with some really amazing people who care about the research we do.
So, thanks to the technology like social media, FaceTime, text messaging, and of course, email, I am in the loop. My fear and anxiety of not being at C’s has been eased, and I look forward to the next conference (next year) and the opportunities I have for professional development. C’s is like the “big dance” for college basketball teams (if you follow me)…this is the big show, the one conference that almost everyone in my field (writing, reading, rhetoric and composition, research, teaching writing, etc.) come out for, regardless if your school is on spring break or not.
I appreciate the organizers of this conference. It is no easy task accommodating thousands of people. It is not easy selecting that one magical city that will be the stomping grounds for C’s. The time, travel, and preparation can be daunting, but it is fun. Usually folks talk about a conference high they get, they are energized, excited, and ready to work with students, ready to research, and ready to contribute to such a great profession.
I have those feelings. I have all the feelings. Today is our presentation day and in an odd way, I feel like I am right there in the conference room at Pittsburgh sharing my work. I feel like I am learning about other panels, other research topics, and of course, what life is like for others who teach at a two-year college. I love seeing the updates, I love that we are using social media for good, to share the good news, to update all the people on C’s. It is a good feeling.
I cannot be everywhere at all times. For the sake of my health and Baby H, we are sitting this C’s out. I had a thought about “silencing” all social media this week, but then I realized I can actually attend/be part of the conference. That is good, folks. It is good to be in the loop at times, it is fun to see the conference attendees share their experiences whether it is their first time or twentieth time.
Here’s to the next C’s, and attending with a new bundle of joy (that will hopefully love travel as much as Sam and me).