This post is part of a series for the National Association of Independent Schools and the People of Color Conference. Liza will be blogging throughout this week related to the conference.
Well, it's here -- it's POCC WEEK! Yes!!
On social media, friends have been counting down the months, then weeks and now days until PoCC! It's a week of learning, connecting, growing, and feeling like you are surrounded by family.
PoCC can also be really overwhelming - I mean, have you seen the 100 page program guide yet??
If you are new to PoCC, here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of your conference experience. See you in Anaheim!
WHAT TO PACK (in addition to your usual things)
- Most people are wearing clothes somewhere on the spectrum of "work casual" while at PoCC. But, don't forget to also pack some more casual wear. If you are hanging out or going out to a casual dinner with friends or attending a social, you might want other clothing to change into. This is tough if you're trying to fit everything into a carry on luggage (we know all about those luggage fees!). But, it does help to have something to change into after conference hours.
- It's always too cold (or, nice and cold!) in convention centers. Bring layers!
- If you can, leave room in your luggage for any books you pick up at the NAIS Bookstore!
- Pick comfortable shoes. There's a lot of walking at the convention center!
- Snacks -- sometimes those lunch lines are long, and if you get hangry like me, snacks really help to carry you through until the lines go down! Know that coffee lines rival any theme park lines, so be prepared to wait in line for coffee or find a way to get your caffeine fix early.
- Definitely go through the program guide ahead of time. This gives you a sense of what kinds of sessions are out there. Pick a few for each time slot. There isn't much time in between sessions, and it's better to talk and network after an event that burying yourself in the program guide trying to figure out where you're going to go next. Use your time wisely!
- PoCC is a great place to take a deep dive into your areas of interest. Go for it! AND, choose at least 1 session a day that is completely outside of your own discipline or role. Doing so means that you are getting exposure to other aspects of education or other aspects of identity.
- Go to them.
- It's pretty crowded in the major speakers session (see bullet point just above). Honestly, every seat is a good seat because NAIS and the convention team does a great job of creating visibility with the use of screens. It's not as intimate, sure, but you'll feel just as engaged.
- If you can't get to major speakers, definitely hit up the PoCC Live Stream.
- Yes! Tweet! Follow backchannels at #NAISPoCC. People do live tweet during sessions. Give the presenters a bump and tag them in your posts. Share your learning!
MAKING NEW FRIENDS/FAMILY
- PoCC is definitely a place of love and kindness. And, for some of us, it may be the only four days when you are surrounded by so many people of color (or, heck, it may be a time when you are not the only one!). Exchange information. Hand out or ask for business cards. Talk to folks. There are also some great online communities built around PoCC as well.
- Go to the affinity groups. Some of us may not have ever experienced an affinity group; some of us rely on them heavily. If you are unsure, go to the first one where we do lots of "get to know you" activities. It's powerful. But, don't just write them off. I swear, affinity group is where I find so much strength that carries me through the year!
I look forward to seeing you and meeting you at PoCC!
Peace and power,