This blog was originally posted on February 18th, 2015.
I just made my reservations for the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Wow, some lessons learned.
The first lesson: reserve rooms early. I couldn’t get into the host hotel or the backup hotel or even the backup, backup hotel. I’m only about a mile away from the conference but I know from past experience there is no greater pleasure than getting through a long day of panels and then simply stepping into an elevator and collapsing in my room. This year I will be taking a hike before collapsing. I have to admit I was really kind of shocked. I just never expected it to be that hard to find a hotel room in Tampa of all places.
The second lesson is closely connected: CV lines are expensive. I tried every traveler’s trick I know, including Kayak, Orbitz, Hotels.com, AAA discounts, state government rates—everything. I still can’t believe it costs $250+ a night to stay in Tampa. When all is said and done, I will be spending about $1,000 to attend the conference. Luckily, it’s just across the state from me so I can drive there. If I had to fly in, that cost would be even higher. That’s a lot of money, it seems to me, for a line on one’s CV (especially since I am not presenting this year and so, really, it’s not a line on my CV). It prompts me to think about the costs of tenure: the money we invest while on the tenure track to get our work out there, to stay current, to connect to others, and to move towards tenure. The cost problem is compounded for me since I won’t be getting department funds to travel this year, as I am technically “out of unit” and up in the dean’s office. I’m trying to think of this as a critical investment in my career but it’s a tough sell to my bank account.
Third lesson: they do an awesome job with the conference. Yes, I’m in sticker shock thinking of what I am paying for where I am staying. But in getting things together for the conference I was really impressed with all the work they’re doing. I watched some YouTube videos about the location, I see they have more poster sessions (with cash awards!), and super kudos to Joyce Carter for all that work—there are a ton of new features to look forward to.
I’ll be sure to enjoy many panels and will delight in seeing professional friends that, really, I only see at Cs. But I have to admit what I look forward to the most is the Bedford party. For me, it’s the highlight of the conference.
Hope to see you there. And you can bet I will be taking these lessons with me as Cs moves to Houston in 2016. I’ll be saving up, booking early, and thinking about some new formats to share my work.