[Editor’s Note: I’m the Format Editor for MAGIS, which I’m planning on working on laying out this weekend. In preparation for the release, here’s a piece from
Brittany Whooten edit: Andrew McGeehan! (That’ll teach me to read e-mail) about his recent trip to NASPA. Enjoy]
Excitement for the conference was building as I flew from Seattle to Philadelphia. I was ready to network, job search, reconnect with old friends, and enjoy spending a few days off campus. I arrived in Philadelphia and patiently waited for my luggage. I kept waiting. The airport began to clear out. I started to panic a little, but tried to remain confident. I found a representative from the airline and they said they had been trying to call me because my luggage could not be found and did not arrive in Philadelphia. It was lost somewhere in an abyss, unable to be found because of faulty scanning equipment in Chicago. Essentially, no one had any idea where it was.
So there I was, without my suit, with no shirts, ties, socks, underwear, toiletries, phone/computer chargers, etc. They said that most bags are recovered within 24 hours, so I didn’t worry too much. Luckily, a friend of mine who was there had brought two suits, so after frantically running to his hotel at midnight and trying on his suit, I settled in to try and sleep before the conference began.
Long story short, I did not receive my luggage back until about three weeks later. Mysteriously, my shampoo, toothpaste, cologne, and phone charger were missing. I was also repeatedly questioned about my involvement in a burglary/identity theft scam in Rancho Cucamonga, California, due to some documents that were supposedly found in my luggage. Needless to say, it was an interesting experience. The bright spot was that due to my constant yelling and throwing a fit over the phone, I was able to get them to give me $200.00 to buy a few new shirts and ties for the conference. I unfortunately forgot to buy new socks during this time, and after seven days of continued wear, my smelly pair of socks had to be thrown out.
Despite living in someone else’s clothes for four days, and using harsh hotel soaps, shampoos, and razors, I had a great time at the conference and learned a lot. I got to see Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier from Sudan, speak and perform his music. I attended a session about the 10 myths of social justice, which spurred introspection and reflection. I was able to reconnect with old colleagues and meet new ones. It was my first national conference, and though it didn’t start off particularly great, the professional development I received from attending was top-notch. Next time, I just know to only pack a carry-on.