Monday, May 21, 2018
As of this post, AASE is approximately 24 hours from beginning. I can’t wait for it to start. AASE always produces great ideas and a good recharge to make it through bar prep.
Everyone will have different suggestions for how to approach the conference. My suggestions are based on my personality and experience, so you may benefit from different strategies. Here are a handful of my thoughts.
First, steal great ideas. The presenters are there to help everyone get better. Use their ideas in your class, workshops, or interactions with students. I would guess the vast majority of presenters want you to steal their ideas. Give them credit when appropriate, but don’t reinvent the wheel. Most people in ASP are working on limited budgets, with limited staff, and are responsible for helping an entire law school succeed. Work smarter while working harder.
Second, devote a notebook page or word document to great ideas. I normally have a blank word document or the first page of my notebook devoted to great ideas I can implement when I get back. I call it my takeaway sheet. As I hear something that I can implement, I quickly write it down. Keeping all of the great ideas in 1 space helps me stay organized for when I get back.
Third, attend a variety of presentations. I know the schedule is roughly setup in tracks to help specific populations. For some people, they may need to focus on 1 track. However, I usually tell people to attend a few presentations outside your track. You never know when a great 1L exercise would work really well in a bar prep class. We are all trying to help our students improve fundamental legal analysis. Take ideas from everywhere to do that.
Fourth, talk to people. This is the hardest one for me. I do not naturally introduce myself or try to meet new people. However, the people you meet may be the biggest resource you take away from the conference. My first conference, which happened to be at SLU in summer 2009, made a huge impact on my career in a number of ways. One of the biggest impacts came from simply sitting on the bus. I sat by myself, like normal, and an outgoing, awesome person sat next to me. I had no idea who Paula Manning was at that time (probably should have). The insight she provided in that 15 minute ride made in an impact on my students that summer. She also became one of the people I can always reach out to when I have a question. Paula will never know the impact she continually has on my students, and it all happened because I talked to someone on the bus. You can both learn from and help out others just by talking to them.
Lastly, enjoy the break. I know many of us have bar takers starting bar prep. Others have grading or numerous tasks waiting back home. However, I would implore everyone to take a second and enjoy the break. Go visit the arch one night or go to sleep early. The mental recharge getting away from the office can make a huge difference in the coming months.
I hope everyone enjoys AASE. I can’t wait to see everyone, even if I may not say hello.