Travel Work

Conferences are Fun

May 6, 2023

It had been so long that I forgot. But they really are! Jumping in during a 45 minute break to post.

I also feel like I used to be very . . . uptight about how I spent time at a conference. Now I have zero shame about taking some time to relax, take extra naps, spend time with friends OR in my room chilling out with room service.

Lest I sound like I am not taking advantage of the learning opportunities, I actually also really enjoy the sessions. The ones at this particular conference are quite relevant to my clinical work (ie tons of practical info – not just theoretical science). I take notes (started a new EC notebook that I got *free* at the Mosaic store – didn’t realize it at the time but I guess they were just giving things away in preparation for closing) and I get to pretend that I am in school again.

As someone who chose to be in some form of academic training for 11 years after college, it probably goes without saying that I like ‘school’. Since I work in a primarily clinically-focused (ie, as opposed to research) program, I find meetings even more important to keep me up to date.

I got to run this morning with a friend (and previous BOBW guest!) AND I had a super fun dinner last night with 2 of my long-time Duke friends — we used to do ‘fellowship girls night dinners’ (or some name like that) back in the day that were sooooo much fun. We were missing one member of our 4-person club (from one year above me!) but we texted her and she said the pic looked 15 years old which is untrue but a lovely compliment.

so fun! Taken at Barbusa in Little Italy which was delicious by the way

Josh is fully in charge at home! Our nanny did have to stay a bit later Friday night, but he’s off for the weekend has already managed to get everyone to soccer and the first of 2 birthday parties. SCREEN FREE MAY continues which might make his job a little harder but I don’t feel that bad because he is on call next weekend (Mother’s Day – but at least as I’m getting some lovely chill time now, I can’t exactly whine too much) and the roles will once again reverse. As mentioned previously transient stretches of solo-ish parenting are easier now that the kids are older — I do still get burned out when it’s night after night for too long, but I think he’ll actually have fun.

Final note: I was really happy with my conference wardrobe BUT then I realized my shoe is fully about to fall apart and my only other option is sneakers. I guess we’ll see how much this tear expands over the next 2 days!

if only this was a surgery conference maybe someone could sew it up

Okay back to the conf! Can’t miss Special Topics in Pediatric Obesity or Endocrinology in the NICU!


  • Reply Sophie May 6, 2023 at 3:50 pm

    Aww I love this post! So glad you are having a great time. Love that pic of you and your uni friends- those friendships are special hey. Im a researcher so I go to a fair few conferences. I totally agree that the restorative and networking aspects of them are just as important as the education. That’s why they often hold them in tourist destinations! I’ve got one coming up in a few weeks where I will know quite a few attendees and is held on the Gold Coast Australia, which is a bit like Miami, so I’m looking forward to a fun time 🤩 enjoy the rest of your trip!

  • Reply O May 6, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    I really don’t like most conferences. They make me feel like a huge failure and the networking is only so-so. For me. I’m planning on attending as few as possible this next year

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 6, 2023 at 6:06 pm

      I think we go for very different reasons – I’m consuming the clinical application or the science as a pure clinician and you ARE the science. Sometimes I wonder if my colleagues from Duke are sad I went this route but I don’t think so, I think they just want their trainees to be happy …

      • Reply Omdg May 6, 2023 at 6:33 pm

        They probably don’t think of you at all except as a #. I do know at penn the md phds who ended up with exclusively clinical careers were considered “failures.” That word wasn’t specifically used but it was pretty obvious it wasn’t the desired goal.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 6, 2023 at 8:14 pm

          I don’t think that’s true of my faculty mentors in endo, esp as some of them are largely clinical themselves. Maybe I’m deluding myself but if so I guess that’s ok 🙂

  • Reply coco May 7, 2023 at 4:44 am

    I feel like we have a parallel life, I’m about to go to a work conference too, first time since the pandemic. I’m not that excited like before, but excited to do a lot of shopping in the US, meet old friends, and do minimal what others would do in conferences, networking. I’m in a stage of life/career that I really don’t see the point of it anymore, I just want to hang out with people I like.
    your shoe… that’s funny, probably because you haven’t used it for a longtime?

  • Reply Brenda C May 8, 2023 at 2:19 pm

    I adore work conferences. I have a huge network of colleagues with whom I’m also friendly, and it’s like a reunion. I call them “sleep-away camps for grown-ups.”
    To be sure, I take the learning seriously, but the networking and quality connections are much more valuable. I also pride myself on helping make the event happen. (Presenting, volunteering, any other task needed)
    So immensely glad you’re making the most of it!

  • Reply Alyce May 9, 2023 at 10:33 am

    I find it interesting that your work conference was over a weekend. Is that common for doctors? I have never seen a weekend conference in the legal world.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 9, 2023 at 11:44 am

      Yep, most of them are. Not sure why , I guess just losing less patient care time.

  • Reply Jenny May 10, 2023 at 10:48 am

    I know what you mean- it’s fun to go back into “learning” mode rather than “doing.” I don’t go to conferences, but I do have to take CEU classes every two years. I love showing up with my notebook, ready to learn!

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