As I think back on my first NACAC experience in San Diego last week, I can’t help but reminisce on all of the conferences I attended as an admissions counselor. I remember planning for weeks, agonizing over each and every session knowing I had a mere three days to choose the ones that were most exciting, informative, and relevant. I’d go over my flight itinerary and hotel confirmation over and over for fear of ending up in the wrong place. And I’d file through all of the local websites to find the best tourist attractions in the area.
It seems silly to me now but somehow, through all of this preparation, I gave little to no thought into exploring the Exhibit Hall. Sure, I would stop by, grab a giveaway or two, and meet up with my other Admissions colleagues. But, if I’m being honest, my eyes were down and my walk swift for fear of conversation.
Fast forward five years later.
Here I am, on the other side of the table. And here I am, engaging in some of the most exciting, informative, and relevant conversations of my career. It is through these conversations that I’ve learned more about the ever-changing higher education marketing landscape than I ever thought possible. I’ve realized that while we, as exhibitors, may not be seated with you in the sessions, we are truly part of the conversation. If only I could go back to my admission counselor days, I’d take the opportunity to start all of those conversations that I may have missed. Who knows what I could have learned.
Just some humble advice from someone who just came to the “other side.”
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