My first ASHA was Atlanta, 2002. It was a total fluke that we even had the opportunity to go, but one that I will always treasure. As graduate students, our new Audiology professor got wind that we were talking about the ASHA convention. She told us that she was driving to ASHA and if we wanted a ride we were welcome to go. WHOA...wait a minute! Professor + 14 hour road trip each way = 4 unsure grad students!
After some discussion, we decided we were game. The four of us met our professor at 4:30 in the morning for a day of driving, laughing, talking, and learning more about each other along the way. As you know, Speech Pathologists are never short on words. We rolled into Atlanta at 10:30 that night after a LONG day on the road, finishing part one of our road trip extravaganza.
On the road, we paid our own way for everything, except the gas. When we kindly pulled out our wallets at the first gas station, our organizer kindly declined our offers again, and again, and again. She was paying it forward! It turns out that when she was in school, one of her professors had done the same thing for her and her classmates. We all promised that when the opportunity presented itself, we too would pay it forward, and offer the same opportunity to other ASHA novices!
That first convention was an exhausting whirlwind, to say the least! From what I remember, we were on constant overload the entire 3 days. But since that time, I've had the good fortune to get my ASHA sea legs. Your first convention is all about learning the ropes, but with the support of old and new friends, it will be an experience that you'll never forget!
We've had the pleasure of attending a few more ASHA Conventions:
San Diego 2005
Boston 2007 (One of my favorites!)
New Orleans 2009
San Diego 2011
Every year, I munch on brain food from a smorgasbord of courses and have more and more fun with my ASHA friends. What started as a yearly tradition with one friend has morphed into a group of 7 friends with additions along the way. Our group this year expands four states and sometimes ASHA is the only time we see each other. We have some amazing stories of our adventures, marked by tears of joy and laughter, and sadly some marked by life's losses. So, check out upcoming ASHA conventions and start planning your next adventure.
This year I am coming full circle, returning to the city that started it all...ATLANTA! My first ASHA was 72 hours of information overload and this year I will be presenting my first ASHA session!