- Did I mention money?
Let’s start with money. The conference itself is free as far as I can tell. No registration fees or anything like that. However, I’d have to get to the conference and this would require a plane ticket or renting a car and driving a really long way by myself. Both of those two things would cost money. Then, there is the hotel stay. I’ve looked at hotels and it seems like the cheapest is around $80 a night. Then, there are meals. So, I’m looking at probably around $500 for this conference altogether. I’m a grad student. My husband is a senior research associate. We have two apartments, one of which is in a very expensive part of the country. We are flying to see each other every 4 or 5 weeks. We are poor. There is not money in the budget for this sort of thing (especially since he just had to get a crown put in on one of his teeth and either our dental insurance sucks or crowns are obscenely expensive or both because it’s putting a huge dent in our finances).
Then there’s time. I really, really must finish my PhD. I am still doing experiments for my thesis! And I’m already taking 4 day weekends once every 4 or 5 weeks to visit my husband. I’m not sure I can afford to take a few days away from the lab to attend the conference.
Also, I write an anonymous blog. It’s a little difficult to remain anonymous when you show up to things in person. I can keep my screen name, and not say what university I’m at, but still if someone ever sees me somewhere else (like at another conference) then they are going to know who I am. Sometimes I amuse myself by thinking about going to the conference wearing one of those Mardi Gras masks with all of the feathers the entire weekend and wearing a nametag that says “Mrs Whatsit” and having people ask me if I can “wrinkle” them home, and that would be pretty darn funny. But since I wear glasses, it’s kind of hard to wear a mask (and I’m not getting contacts just for a meeting).
The time and anonymity issues could be overcome, but I’m still stuck on the money situation. There are travel grants for conferences at my university but I don’t think they would consider this conference important enough to award me a travel grant.
So, the bottom line is, I’m going to have to wait until next year (hopefully there is conference in 2009).