I volunteered for yet another tech conference and this time my mark has struck much closer to home. In my own university. So, here’s my take on Amity University’s 8th International Conference “Confluence 2018” held on 11th-12 Jan on Data Science, Cloud Computing, and Engineering.
“Too many big words in a sentence makes the sentence cooler by a factor of 10”
– Heisenberg (2018 AD.)
Here is the lowdown, Confluence is a joint effort by the students, faculty, and staff of ASET (Amity School of Engineering and Technology). Students burn the midnight oil and morning 9:15 classes daily to make the conference a glorious success. Many committees are formed to handle various tasks and functions at the conference. Namely, the Organising, Speakers, Media, Hospitality, MC (Master of Ceremonies) and Security committee.
Now, I may be too formal about it. But it’s just a fun, learning experience for most. People get pictures clicked in suits and formals. Looking great, decent and recently bathed. College turns into an army of guy and gals wearing black and white fatigues trotting on with special cards hanging around their necks and acting all busy and workaholic. Instagram gets flooded with pictures, as days to the confluence are counted out with captions crafted from too many fancy words or just pure bullshit.
Why I am telling you this?
As per my NGF policy, I never did participate nor volunteer in these events. I think the hustle isn’t for me and that it is a blatant waste of time. Make no mistake that I still do. Conferences are and always should be just about meeting new people. Anyone not doing that doesn’t know why he or she is at one. Making new friends at events like these is always on my agenda. So, for the sake of trying out new things, this time around I volunteered for the Speaker’s committee which takes care of all hospitality, transportation, and accommodation of the speakers who are attending the conference. And … it was an experience (You can the decide the good and bad for yourself).
Great, here’s what I did…
I met with most of the speakers. Talked with them, discussed, laughed and even put forward my views on issues that I had a clue about. I got to know about their lives, their stories, inspired by what they have achieved and by their life’s work. In the Speaker’s Committee, each volunteer is assigned a speaker that he/she has to baby throughout the conference. I was allotted Ms. Marde Helbig from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She is a senior lecturer there, the chair of the South African IEEE Computational Intelligence Society Chapter and many other positions earned through hard work and years of research. We talked and shared our views about teaching, her work, the papers she had written and the subjects she taught at the university. We had a heart to heart over programming languages and editors. Which was just nice to know about. She was visiting India for the first time and was really fond of visiting the Taj Mahal.
I had fun. If I have to do it all over again, I would. Though it is tiring, soul-sapping hard but at the end of the day. You get a feeling of accomplishment, pleasure, and goodwill. Something that you feel inside when you contribute to something bigger than yourself. For the person on the other side of the screen, get off your ass, start contributing, start volunteering in events and organizations. The experience itself would be the prime benefit that you would reap from them. Now, these might not be a big deal for some. But you have to start somewhere, I guess. Isn’t that what being in college has always been about? Trying out new things, knowing the unknown.
Live in the mix.