Should you go to conference as a new OT student? why, yes :)

Question asked of me on Facebook (both slightly edited):

Question: Hi Karen! I need advice 🙂 Trying to decide if I should go to conference this year as a brand new OT student. Wanted to get your opinion as to whether you think it is worth it to go after only being in school 4 months. I know I am going next year regardless, but I can’t decide if I think it is worth spending the money to go this year. As always, any advice is much appreciated!

Answer: girrrl…..if money is an issue enough that going means you have to live on ramen for six months, don’t go because you need your strength. But if you can go without too much financial hardship I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!! go go go go! The expo will be awesome – a place to network, learn of companies, and see new products. The place is filled with enthusiasm and you can go to different lessons and learn stuff even if it is over your head – so kinda choose wisely and pick the stuff that you think won’t be too over your head. Plus you get to meet peeps from all over the nation etc. I highly recommend you go – and that its totally worth it and not a waste of time even as a new student – if you can afford it.

If I hadnt JUST moved to CA and it was all the way on the east coast, i would have totally considered going. Too much expense for this year after all that’s happened. Gotta go see where it is next year. I hope they keep flip-flopping it to east coast/midwest/west coast or something – I feel like its almost always on the eastern side (minus Long Beach, which I went to while I was in Memphis…oh the irony. Anyway.)

So…YES IT IS WORTH IT TO GO TO CONFERENCE AS A NEW OT STUDENT. If you can afford it. But make sure to do lots of networking – that’s a big part of it. Talk to everyone.

A few tips:

1) Consider having business cards made, even though you are a student. They can have your name, email address, OT student, maybe a phone number……but if you do a phone number remember you may have recruiters calling you a lot. This is helpful to give out to new random friends you meet. NOTE: If your e-mail address is like a high school relic of “”, please, for the love of God, make a new professional one. Mine is just my name, karen.dobyns, for gmail. I recommend you just use a neutral thing – like your name – and make sure you can keep it forever, ie gmail and not comcast or something. One time this older woman who was in my fencing club wrote down her email addie (she was seriously like in her 60s) and it was like hotmama69 and it scarred me for life. The recruiters won’t be impressed. Don’t do it. And if you use your school addie, that eventually goes away when you graduate…so choose your permanent address wisely. Again I recommend gmail. Sorry. I just do. I love it.

2) Consider bringing your address labels in your purse. Then when you go from booth to booth and a ton of them want your snail mail address to send you information or prizes or who knows what, just stick an addie label on there and move on…way faster. I find it such a pain to write my address repeatedly, lol.

3) wear comfortable shoes for the expo

4) go to the key note and big talks and anything else that looks interesting….and one last time…NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK. PS: I think this goes without saying – don’t be rude to anyone or talk badly/shun any one company – the OT world is small, you never know when it will come back to bite you on the butt! Behave yourself….don’t get really drunk and text and fall into a fountain.

Man I am sooo wise, sometimes it hurts….ahahahhahaa. Go to OT Conference and then blog or write about it so I can live vicariously through y’all!

Jan 25, 2011 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 4