Did you ever go to camp when you were a child? If you did, do you remember that feeling of fear of not knowing anyone, having to meet new friends, etc? I never went to camp but I did go to Girl’s State the summer of my Jr year of high school and the National Young Leaders conference in DC my Sr year. I remember the shear panic before leaving for both. When I went to DC I had many things putting me into panic mode: it was my first time to fly alone (I was only 17!), my roommates were from the north, what if my accent embarrasses them, and I was missing a major holiday for state of Alabama, it was Iron Bowl weekend. Most of all the idea of not knowing anyone was so scary. I was and still am used to people knowing me where ever I go. I changed schools in Jr high and had no worries because I knew so many people at new school before I arrived! Being alone is a scary thing.
Which brings me to the present. I have never attended a large education conference (or even a non-conference). Mostly because of the fear of going to a strange city alone. I remember last summer I threw my back out. As in pain injections and stuck flat on my back for a week. It was the same week as NECC (now ISTE). I remember laying there reading the tweets (lol I couldn’t do much else) thinking how fun it all sounded but there was no way I would ever be brave enough to do that!!
Well things change. Over the past year I have developed so many relationships with educators from all over the country, and even different places of the globe! This past winter while reading tweets from my now friends at #educon and only getting to be part of #noneducon (you can read about #noneducon here ) I decided to go to #ISTE10 this year.
Going to #ISTE10 I will admit is a huge financial burden. I sold all of my gold jewelry (most were from ex’s over the years so no harm done, right?) and had to make sacrifices. I do not have a tech position (no matter how bad I want one) so there is no way I could get financial help for this conference. But everything is now ready to go.
As I make my schedules and pack my bags those fears I had in high school of being new and alone are coming back. I could go on and on for days of those little fears, luckily @thenerdyteacher already made that list. I made the comment that if no one would hang out with me I would go to my comfort zone and find a sports bar and watch the college world series. I was only kidding, a little. But I never thought I would get as many @ and DMs about that comment saying that would not happen. I still have a large part of me that thinks retreating back to my room alone will be most comfortable, but the support to do otherwise is there and incredible! Thank goodness because I would!
There is this group of people I am dying to meet. These people who have taught me more than I could ever give back. The thought of them being there and some having the same fears is turning my fears into excitement!! Still surprises me that some would want to meet me as well, but heck I’m going to with that and take it as an honor!
Plane leaves at 5:30 Sunday, and I cannot wait! Thank you to my PLN for all you have taught this past year and 1/2 and I cannot wait to learn from you guys in person!
I always say having a PLN is like sitting next to the smart people in the class, they will always help you and they know the answers. Its time for me to take my seat!!
(I’m also looking forward to learning at #ISTE10, those post will come later!)