“No grand idea was ever born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
As a researcher mostly involved in basic science, you may have numerous ideas that you think are worth pursuing, until you join your peers’ conversation in a conference and then, you realize, that may have been a foolish idea to pursue, precisely as Fitzgerald said. This is only one beauty of attending conferences and for me, my recent experience at #AHA17 made me to wholeheartedly believe in Fitzgerald’s saying.
I attended this year’s Scientific Session with two mindsets:
- First, I tried to have a pre-made mindset about the topics I would like to follow-up on (aortic aneurysms, atherosclerosis, and lipid metabolism).
- Second, I kept a portion of my mind empty and looked for ideas to fill it up with.
By focusing on a specific topic, I was able to explore different projects which were to some extent, related to what I do, I shook hands with many researchers who are active in my field, I had the chance of establishing connections with potential future collaborators, and finally based on all the talks and communications, I killed some foolish ideas. None of these would have been possible without a planned attendance and pre-made mindset.
Keeping a blank space in my mind helped me to look for fillers. From getting myself exposed to projects presented in other AHA Councils, to having snacks with scientists who have opposite ideas, the fruitfulness of activities which are usually out of my field of focus not only gave me new ideas to work on but also expanded my networking circle to an extent which I would not expect.
All things considered, #AHA17 was the highlight of my conference participations in 2017 and if you are planning for your next AHA conference attendance, do not forget to come prepared with an open mind to get the most out of the event(s).
Also, as a blogger in the events, it’s best to avoid beer. Sometimes that first draft can get in the way of your novel ideas.
Shayan is a caffeine-dependent Ph.D. Candidate at the Saha Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Kentucky. His research area is focused on vascular biology and lipid metabolism. He tweets @MoradiShayan, blogs at shayanmoradi.com and he is the Winner of World’s Best Husband Award (Category: nagging).