Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tough (Conference) Call

No, I wasn't having a difficult conversation on the phone with several coworkers at once. Ick. That just sounds awful. 

Instead, I had to make a decision about the Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association conference this coming April, the first conference I was accepted to in the fall and the second best of the three I got into for this spring. 

Three conferences is a lot to handle in under 2 months for anyone - let alone for a pregnant chick. And it just so happens that the third one (PCA/ACA) is in Boston, which is a grueling ten-hour drive from Pittsburgh. And it just so happens that I'll be 35.5 weeks pregnant at the time. So while the flight is only an hour or so, any travel at that point is not super-duper advisable. (Most airlines don't allow pregnant women to fly after 36 weeks.) Not to mention how utterly uncomfortable I'm going to be traveling at all. 

See you some other time, Boston 
But there's a good reason to consider going regardless: the paper that was accepted is a version of a longer paper that's already been accepted for publication. Once that publication comes out, I can't present a shorter version at a conference. It's definitely a good idea to get 2 for the price of 1 paper - a conference presentation and a publication - and PCA might be my last chance for this one before it comes out in print. But the journal has a reasonably long lag time, so there's a chance I could hit up a conference next fall or early winter (if I get accepted, of course). Basically, that's a wait-and-see.

Ultimately, I decided to do the responsible thing (however much it pained me): I e-mailed the panel organizer yesterday and declined my spot. I was sure to explain why and she was super understanding. I'm not gonna lie - I was gritting my teeth the whole time. But after talking it over with Brad and with my mom and getting some advice from a prof. who's got little ones, I knew it was the right thing to do. 

And so to Louisville Shannon, Brad, and I drive in late February, and to Vegas Brad and I fly in mid-March. Hopefully I won't be too fat and uncomfortable to enjoy the slot machines, er, listening to conference presentations!

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