so you’re going to asa for the first time?

Or you’re wondering if you should go because you didn’t like it last time you went? I’ve been to some 6 ASAs now (not a lot, but enough to draw some generalizations, and hopefully make you feel better about your bad experiences or influence your expectations). So here are some general observations about ASA:

1.) Some people love ASA. Some people hate it. I fell into the latter category for my first several ASAs (see more below). I now don’t mind it. I think the reasons are twofold: (a) I changed my expectations, (b) I now know more people in sociology I don’t get to see very often. So I can do so at ASA. I still don’t like the conference that much. But I go to see people.

2.) You may learn something at ASA about sociology, but I wouldn’t go expecting to. Most panels are not good; many are actually bad. And it is very difficult to predict which ones will be. Think for a moment about the conference from our association’s point of view: They want everyone to go. Many will only go if they are presenting. So there are lots and lots and panels. This lowers the incentive for any one person to present a good paper (who knows if anyone will show up?). There’s a tipping point, and pretty soon all the papers are bad (regardless of how “good” the person presenting is). In my experience, the best papers are by grad students going on the market. I learn things when I go to panels I know nothing about (you usually can’t help it, although sometimes you later find out that what you learned was wrong). But my orientation to ASA is that it is not an intellectual conference. It is a social one. If I’m looking for an intellectual exchange I go to a different conference or hope for a good informal interaction. If you’re very new to sociology: I wouldn’t judge people or the discipline on the basis of this conference.

3.) For grad students in particular, the social interactions at ASA are very frustrating. This is aggravated by the fact that ASA is a social conference. In all likelihood you will get ignored by faculty in your department. This is not because the faculty are mean. It is because they see you all the time and they don’t get to see other sociologists (perhaps THEIR grad school friends) very often. So ASA is not a time for them to hang out with you; it’s a time for them to hang out with others. This is very hard to take, because you might feel snubbed. And it may be worse because some other grad student might tell you about all the famous people they’re meeting and how they’re having an awesome time and they’re just loving it while you’re alone in your room. They’re either lucky, on the market, or lying. Most faculty will take some time to include you, but they will also exclude you from things. This is simply part of the conference. Don’t take it personally. Think about how you will be at the conference in 10 years. You’ll want to see your friends (not grad students and colleagues). And you might get annoyed if a grad student keeps interrupting you. So take advantage of opportunities, but don’t demand them.

4.) Sometimes people are just rude. I have been chatting with folks who have seen someone famous walk by and simply walk away from our conversation. No, “goodbye,” or “sorry, I have to chat with so-and-so,” just complete abandonment, mid-sentence. I have been closed out of conversations (through body language where a circle of folks forms and I’m pushed out, by being ignored, or by having the person I know in the interaction refuse to introduce me). I try not to take this personally. It usually happens around someone famous. And it’s usually not the famous person doing it. It’s the non-famous people who want to get as much time possible with said famous person. You’re collateral damage. This stinks. But it happens. If it’s happened to you, worry not, you’re not alone. It’s happened to me.

5.) Because of #3 & #4 ASA can be frustrating and socially uncomfortable. I’m someone who is fairly socially adept (and in re-reading this sentence, also pretty arrogant!). And it is hard for me to manage the conference. I’m uncomfortable most of the time. I get anxious. So if you do too, you’re not alone.

6.) What frustrates me the most about ASA is just how status-conscious people are. But I think this is a bad strategy (if one is being strategic). It’s great to meet famous people. But here’s the thing: they’re busy. They’re unlikely to be able to help you by reading your work or chatting with you semi-regularly. They also have lots and lots of other people like you trying to say, “Hi! I work on X!” And they’re unlikely to remember you. So I wouldn’t play the status game at ASA (you know, the one where you make a list of famous people you want to meet and then cross them off one by one as you meet them and then brag about it to others). In part because you lose in the end. And you might also end up being rude to others in the process (if even inadvertently, see #4). Find people who can actually help you. People who do things close to what you do, who you can talk to, and who are likely to be longer-term associations within the discipline. This MAY be someone famous. But it’s more likely that it’s someone who isn’t. Someone like me!

7.) You may not meet anyone. You may not do any networking. This is perfectly fine. And it’s more likely than not. As you first start going to conferences it is frustrating. You hear about all this networking you should be doing, and it doesn’t seem to be happening. It’s a long-term process. So after a good few ASAs (and more importantly, specialist conferences) you will start to know people. But at first you are unlikely to meet anyone. When you realize that you just spent over $1000 to hang out with your friends (which you could have done for much less at home) it burns a bit. But in the long run, in addition to being dead, you’ll also meet people.

8.) It is perfectly acceptable, nay, even advisable to take breaks from the conference. I usually have a day when i leave ASA and wander around the city. This refreshes me. I can’t concentrate for more than 2 hours on anything, much less being “on” as a professional sociologists 24 hours a day for five days. So take a break and wander away. It’s worth it.

9.) I may ignore you at ASA. It’s hard for me to recognize people these days. If I do, say hi. I’ll get all embarrassed and feel bad. But I’d rather that than you think I’m rude!

10.) All of this is not to scare you about ASA. Instead, it’s meant to give you a sense of what one guy has experienced and now expects out of the conference. That, and if things don’t go well (or haven’t gone well before), you’ll know you’re not alone. The most fun I have at ASA is sitting at the hotel bar with folks. Something I could do at home, but not with folks who live thousands (or even hundreds) of miles away.

Oh, and Tina and I are planning our party. It’s going to rock. It’ll be the best time you have at ASA.

54 thoughts on “so you’re going to asa for the first time?”

  1. The worse are the mixers, were you are supposed to be talking to people you don’t know. And the job market ones, forget about it! Unless you are incredibly smooth, which I am not, you end up hanging around with the two other people you already knew and not talking to anyone. Any advice about these? It just seems like we, as sociologists, should know how to structure these better so interaction is encouraged… but not so.


  2. My basic theoretical orientation to conferences: A conference is much like all the worst aspects of being a teenager. You are mostly confined to a highly institutionalized space, not unlike a high-school; people hang around interminably waiting for something interesting to happen; everyone assumes the cool people and events are happening elsewhere and are constantly looking to ditch you and your group for something bettwe; it is impossible to organize people to do anything or go anywhere in a timely fashion; cliques, chest-thumping and backbiting abound; and most of the time things are really boring.

    My two rules of thumb for conference interactions:

    1) Assume every new person you meet is a faculty member. That way, you will not embarrass yourself by talking to a faculty member as if they were a grad student. Grad students will not be embarrassed if you assume they are faculty.

    2) If you have a choice between definitely going to dinner now with some people and hanging around on the possibility that you may get to eat with some more famous/interesting people later, go to dinner now. (I think this one is from Phil Agre.)


  3. Some small comments. Re #2, I disagree a lot with your incentive model because I don’t think anyone tries to present a bad paper. Some do bad papers because they don’t know what a good paper is while others do know but the good paper isn’t done yet. Others do bad papers because they wanted to be on the program (or got asked to be on the program) and had nothing else to present but a recycled version of something they’ve done before.

    Re the rest about social interactions, I have personally have most of the same problems anywhere I go, including department parties. I find being a sociologist helps. When I feel alienated and left out, I shift into observing the interactions around me and eavesdrop on other conversations. And if you want to use the convention to form intellectual networks, consider attending a round table with one or more papers you might be interested in. The group will be small and it sometimes turns into a good discussion among the people at the table.


  4. I cannot resist plugging SWS. It is an oasis amidst the ASA circus.

    Register CHEAPLY for SWS and you will have access to our meeting matching program, hospitality room, people to chat with, and most importantly of course, a ribbon for your badge.

    We also have a version of “so you’re going to your first ASA:”

    Tina, back me up here.


  5. I love ASA – hanging out at the hotel bar, hearing papers, the meetings, going to dinner with good friends and collaborators, the book exhibit, all of it – brilliant…except for the receptions in my subfield. By terrible coincedence no one I know well attends the reception I need to attend and I find it PAINFUL to go in and watch everyone who knows each other chat in 3s, while I walk back and forth purposively because it’s better than standing around watching. Then, I leave after 20 minutes because I can’t take it anymore. This is bad because its a vicious cycle. I need to break it.

    I wish I could just skip them — (and go to the ones where all the people seem so friendly (I’m sure the people at mine are friendly too, but since I’m on my own without a linker — it suuuucks) but I would also like to get tenure and know I need to start to meet people f2f.

    This year I’m going to be very strong – resolve to chat with at least 3 people and refuse to leave until at LEAST 35 minutes have passed. Is that a good enough goal — other strategies?


  6. I’ve been going to the ASA for years–I only skipped when I was too poor (Toronto) and when I considered the location so undesirable as to make going painful (Anaheim).

    Back in the day, I had one advisor who ignored me (she still does). My second advisor made a point of introducing me to people, even though she knew I didn’t have professorial ambitions. If she were still with us, I’m sure she’d make a point of talking to me–she was just that kind of person.

    When I finished grad school and started my non-academic job, the experience changed completely. All of sudden, I could see what was going on. My friends all had their first academic jobs or were on the market. They ran around to interviews or coffees made sure to talk to potential references. I sat back and watched. I could relax and have a good time even when I presented papers, acted as discussant or presider, and passed out business cards at the section reception.

    Now that most of my friends have tenure, we can hang out and have fun together, except for the times they have professional responsibilities to fulfill.

    I don’t regret not going this year (I’m moving temporarily to Paris instead!), but for missing the scatterplot party.


  7. I’m hoping they are not just chosen from a large stock of such creatures, but are generated from our user names or other data in some way, like with Chernoff faces. That would be cool.


  8. In general, it seems like the higher the academic status the lower the social skills. At ASA, the relationship is exponential.

    Is everyone just really afraid of talking?


  9. I will definitely back up anotherjess about SWS. The hospitality room is so low key–there is always coffee and snacks, and if you are sitting alone at a table people will just say hi. Oh, and they mark the first-timers so people make an extra effort to say hello. Plus, the ribbon. Just think, you could be a double-ribbon conference goer, just like that.

    I love love love the ASA, although I can’t dispute any of Shakha’s complaints. Mostly, my positive experiences are due to SWS, the Sexualities section, and the non-ASA related stuff like the blogger get-togethers. I think the lesson I have learned is that you have to build a community within the ASA, and I agree with the comment that rather than shooting for the famous folks, just finding people who share your research interest is the most important networking that you can do.


  10. re: #2. I’ve also been to some really disappointing ASA sessions. Now I attack the ASA program with a strategy. I go to sessions that are very directly related to my research area (for networking and there usually aren’t more than 1-2 of these) and then I go to sessions where people I want to meet are on the panels– people whose work I admire. Sometimes that is also disappointing, but usually it is worth it to at least meet the person afterwards.

    re: #7. I’m a pretty shy person, but from the first ASA I went to (I’ve been to three) I literally forced myself to meet and introduce myself to people (b/c I knew no one and was miserable the whole time). It is socially awkward, and often leads no where, but by doing this, Since my first ASA (and SWS) I’ve had a great group of people from all over to hang out with at every subsequent conference. Each one gets easier and more fun. And networking and getting comfortable networking as early as possible is really good. And there is also nothing wrong with asking someone else (an assistant prof you met from another school etc.) to introduce you to someone they know that you want to meet.

    SWS SWS SWS! Jess is right to plug SWS. It is truly a sanctuary in the crazy world of ASA. I usually stay at the SWS hotel, and spend most of my time at SWS sessions. I meet more people, and feel much more comfortable. SWS members are really committed to help grad students network, so take advantage of that and register for SWS (and try to go to the banquet too).


  11. For me ASA is a lot like a large family reunion. Sure, in many (most) ways I’d rather spend the time and money on a quiet, Caribbean vacation with maybe one other person, but well, we’re family and so you go. And to me, there’s always something interesting about this odd collection of folks, connected by a single thread or two and all that collective effervescence (ok, sure, fueled by expensive cocktails and free, cheap wine if you’re lucky) and even the exhausting work of trying desperately to connect with way too many distant friends because after all, here we are in this one spot, once a year and we might as well take advantage of it … but I always need lots of time alone afterwards (and sometimes during) so the introvert in me can heal from all that extroverting.

    As for the quality of papers presented, here’s what I got early on, a slighty different take: it was extremely encouraging to hear the preliminary work of “famous” folk, to hear them trying out ideas just like the rest of us mortals do in brownbags and seminars. It helped me get out of that mode that you don’t share your work until it’s absolutely perfect. And well, it clued me in that ASA is just one big brownbag, not much different (and I don’t think it’s supposed to be). So I try to think of ASA (and other conferences) as a place to get more feedback to just make my arguments even better so that hopefully that paper gets out the door eventually. And like always, I never count on a roomful of earth-shattering comments, even if only one comment sparks an idea or one more attempt to tell someone what my dissertation’s about sparks something, it’s worth it (but well, see also paragraph one above, perverse interactionist and professional optimist that I am).


  12. Ok, I don’t know how many times I have heard good things of SWS at this point. It’s time for me to join!

    Thanks for all the advice. I went last year by myself and had a mixed experience. I was really pretty clueless and, even though I am not a shy person at all, the only time I really talked to anyone was at the blogger meet-up. Otherwise I just felt like such an outsider in so many ways that I couldn’t bring myself to interject into anything. I ended up doing a lot of observing and telling myself that was fine because I was really just on a fact-finding mission about the discipline. Which was true, but I could have made my experience better by interacting with more people.

    Anyway, I feel like less of an outsider to sociology nowadays, so I’m thinking this one will be easier. And it sounds like SWS will help, too! Thanks again to everyone for your kind words of advice.


  13. Belle beat me too it, I’d also like to know what SWS is. I’m going to the ASA for the first time this year – anymore tips would be appreciated.
    And there are blogging parties?


  14. I agree with what everyone has said about ASA — I have spent many a miserable evening in my hotel room and/or standing awkwardly at a reception. It is good to hear that others have had similar experiences.

    But I have to disagree with the comments about SWS. Some of my worst professional experiences at conferences have been with SWS. Sometimes I feel that SWS spends so much time patting themselves on the back for being so welcoming that they forget to actually welcome people. Or maybe my expectations were set very high by hearing comments like those posted here, and then the reality could in no way reach those expectations. I have gotten the sense that SWS is very cliquish, so those with insider connections are welcomed and others are ignored, just like at ASA and other professional conferences. But after several attempts (including attending the mid-winter meetings twice), I am done with SWS. Instead, regional conferences have become my choice for low-key networking.


  15. Thanks for all the great comments. I’ve always felt a bit awkward at ASA and being the low student on the totem pole is not easy. ASA is overwhelming for undergrads, however, last years bloggers outing was a highlight for me. I didn’t chat very much, but felt like a part of something for the first time. Social conference indeed!!


  16. I’ve always liked the ASA meetings. I think it’s because I never really had high expectations about the social benefits that would come through conference attending. I usually spend most of my conference time hanging with people I consider my friends. That started out as a small group of people I knew mostly through grad school. Over time that’s expanded to include others, some of whom I met by chance and many that I met through blogging. Now that my circle of friends is bigger, it does feel a lot like a family reunion (only I enjoy it more).

    My advice to first-time conference goers would be to have fun with the people you know. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Relax, enjoy the city, and attend a few sessions. Choose some sessions based on topic but also attend a few because you respect the work of the people presenting. You may not learn as much as you’d hoped, but you’ll learn something.


  17. At one of the recent Sociological Association of Ireland conferences they put a coloured sticker on everyones name badge and told us to work out how they had allocated colours. It was a great idea because it meant that you had to talk to other people to try and figure out their system. Though possibly that wouldn’t work for something has huge as the ASA – the SAI conference is the sort of conference in which everyone from post-grad to university head ends up in the same bar at four in the mourning singing with the leftovers from the random wedding that happens to be on in the hotel at the same time.


  18. I have to agree with tcprof about sws. I had a horrible experience with the organization and am offiically done with them. My first year as a member, I went to several SWS sessions, the break room, and the evening banquet. No one really talked to me the entire time or ended the conversation after finding out that I didn’t study gender. The banquet was the worst part of the whole thing. A friend and I sat at a table, only to be told that we couldn’t sit there for dinner (more senior people wanted to sit there) and that there were no other tables available. I actually paid for this banquet and it was so embarrassing to have to stand by the side as everyone is eating, while the hotel set up a little kiddie table for us. I beleive the organization is more clique-ish than any other. ugh. I cried after that experience.


  19. I am reserving my opinion about SWS, since I’ve only been to one meeting. But I definitely got the cliquish vibe. And I had the experience where I stood awkwardly alone in the room during the reception while everyone just looked at me askance rather than introduce themselves, while I wondered why everyone said how welcoming the group was. I also had more than one experience in which I sat at a table where I knew nobody, and within minutes (seconds, sometimes) everyone got up and left. I doubt these events were causal, but it still wasn’t pleasant.

    However, I can be a difficult person to approach (I send out scary vibes or something), so like I said: benefit of doubt for now.

    As far as ASA, I love it. I’ve only been to 3 conferences, but each time I’ve felt more at home there. The blogger event was fun last year, though I was a n00b blogger at the time, only having blogged for 2 months by then.


  20. This year’s conference will be my fifth ASA. I have had fun at all of them, but I can empathize with those who find ASA to be overwhelming and unfriendly. I have definitely felt less alienated each year, as my networks have grown.

    One issue for me is that I went to a smaller program, so there were only a few other fellow students at the conference (and literally none of our recent graduates). This was in stark contrast to my advisor, who went to Michigan. When I hang out with her, I joke about the “Michigan Mafia,” because it seems like every other attendee is a UM grad.

    For those of you without large networks, being a part of the blogging community will hopefully help. Newsocprof and I are going to organize a “new profs” gathering, and I’ll look forward to meeting others at the bloggers’ night out.

    No one is going to mention the annoying level of nametag-checking at ASA?


  21. Monsoon and I were debating the idea of wearing nametag tiaras. We always feel like people are staring at our breasts, since the first place they look when approaching us is at our nametag-conveniently located right over our breasts.

    Even people who know us look at the nametag first. Actually, I do that, too. Like I want to be really sure the person is who I think they are.

    So, we figured, with our nametags on our heads (embedded within tiaras), people will look a bit further north.


  22. “We always feel like people are staring at our breasts, since the first place they look when approaching us is at our nametag-conveniently located right over our breasts.”

    After my first ASA, I told my wife, “so *this* is what it’s like…” Yes, lots of awkward chest-staring.


  23. I thought ASA was exciting when I first started going, when I was a grad student and then a young faculty member. You got to see all these famous sociologists and get all these free books and hear all these papers on Important topics. As years passed, the thrill wore off. I saw that the famous sociologists were just people, sometimes less impressive in person than in print. The free books – most of them I never got around to reading. As for the panels, I discovered I have a very low tolerance for listening to academic papers read word for word, which is what most of them were.

    I stopped going, for these and many other reasons. Now, I’ve started attending again. But I’ve changed the way I think about meetings. I had thought they were mostly about hearing papers and discussing them. And in the off times, you could hang out. Now I see meetings as places where you hang out, and in the down times, you can go hear papers.

    Dave P suggests that being in a network of people is what’s important, and I agree. Otherwise, as kristina b says, you feel like an outsider, and I have often felt that way too, which is one of the reasons I stopped attending.


  24. I always feel like an outsider at social gatherings except where I feel like an insider. Isn’t that what everyone is saying? ASA, department parties, spouse’s work parties, political fund raisers, whatever. So it is a generic problem. Extroverts are excited by the situation but we introverts hate it. We want to feel known and validated, but our very act of bonding with the people we know or find interesting will make others feel excluded. Realizing that others feel the same way and looking for ways to lessen the isolation of others can help. Learning how to be comfortable at a spouse’s office party will give you a valuable transferable skill: practice looking relaxed and pleasant (rather than anxious or bored) when no one is talking to you. This attitude makes you more available for conversations with others around you who may be similarly disengaged.

    Re name tags, I like them. I don’t remember names and faces well, and I know that a major source of rudeness is that you tend to avoid or be brusque with someone whose face is familiar but you cannot remember their name or why you know them. I want people to know my name so they will talk to me. Absence of name tags and having to know who people are by sight increases cliquishness and the insider-outsider dynamics. IMHO.


  25. I like name tags too. But I would prefer if listed on them was things that people did (what areas they were interested in) rather than institutional affiliation. I feel like that would eliminate some of the status problems (although it might create greater disciplinary divides). Now I feel like people look at where you are and on that basis decide if you’re worth talking to.


  26. I agree with OW, but I have to admit that the stories of SWS being unwelcoming are breaking my heart. I have seen this organizations’ leaders and members work really hard to create welcoming spaces, and it’s sad to see that it (sometimes? often?) doesn’t filter down to the interactional level.

    Now, if someone tells me that the Sexualities section is also unwelcoming, or even worse, if they felt excluded at last year’s section reception (which I organized), I will be depressed for the rest of the day.


  27. @Tina – the grad students at the last SWS conference were awesome, if that helps. It is because of them that I plan to go back. And my hand program mentor was awesome, too. Though I did have a strange nightmare the night before my defense, in which she pulled together a busload of students from her school, and they were all waiting poised with pens and paper to take notes at my defense. Frightening.


  28. Oh, and I went to the sexualities section last year. Some people came up to me right away and said hi and started to strike up a conversation. They seemed very friendly. Scared the shit out of me.

    I’m embarrassed to say that it freaked me out so much that I hightailed it out of there as soon as I could.

    So, basically, I am hopeless.


  29. Anomie – I’ve been a member (and fan) of SWS for about 10 years and you won’t believe this, but I came up to you at SWS in LV and introduced myself because I heard you were new, but I didn’t hang out because you looked so “set” and comfy with the people at your table that I felt like I was interrupting. Now that I’ve read this account of your experience, I feel terrible. Maybe sometimes people are trying to be welcoming and they just aren’t very good at it either!


  30. @shakha: I think you’ve touched on an important status marker, institutional affiliation. On the one hand, this tidbit of information can frighten conference goers into silence. On the other hand, it can initiate conversation as well (people will ask where you’re from if they are not familiar with your institution)! I fall somewhere inbetween.


  31. @mom – No, don’t feel bad! You were very welcoming, and I was comfy at the time. I was with my hotel roommate and the person that Tina had set me up to meet while there (since she couldn’t come). I think I was also sitting with two women who work at the ASA office in Washington. They were very nice, too.

    Interesting that you felt like you were interrupting, seeing as how I had met all but one of those people just that day. And the other one I had met the day before. The only thing to interrupt was our getting to know one another :) .


  32. Name tags very important. I forgot to put mine on for a social psych event last year. I had a woman walk up and start talking to me, and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Five minutes into what I thought was a fun conversation, she says “I just had to meet you, I’m a big fan of your work.” Turns out that she thought I was Karen Hegtvedt. Well, I’m a fan of her work too, but cannot call it my own. As soon as I corrected her misperceptions, she walked away. I need the name tag to let people know I am no one!


  33. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the “ASA Romance.” Something I’ve heard rumors about but have no evidence for. Isn’t that why some folks go to ASA? A romantic encounter with that old crush (or ex!) from grad school (or that department you just left…). Perhaps we could call this the “Veblen motivation” for attending ASA. Although some have suggested that the stories of Veblen’s romantic trysts are far-overblown, and perhaps not quite true. Which may also be the case with the “ASA romance…”

    Of course this fits nicely with Kieran’s point (#2). ASA is like high school. You think everyone else is getting lots of action except you. Only it turns out most people’s romantic lives are just as boring as yours.


  34. Anomie and I found what happens at a conference stays at conference… unless you’re a Penthouse reader! Apparently “conference romances” do exist or they’re a sexy academic fantasy for others.


  35. ahem. what junoksun (aka monsoon) means is that we learned through ACADEMIC RESEARCH – not firsthand experience – that there are a fair number of Penthouse Forum letters which take place at conferences.

    just to clarify.


  36. I’ve always been boringly monogamous, but I’ll say that apart from the convention roommate I once had who locked me out of the room while she had what would now be called a hook up with a book salesman, I’ve been told by a number of good friends that their own pre-AIDS conventions used to involve a lot of casual sex. My informants made the PAA sound like the lust hotbed. But maybe they were just bragging.


  37. As soon as I corrected her misperceptions, she walked away

    You should have said, “No, my name is Pitrim Sorokin.”

    a lot of casual sex

    I know someone who used not to bother to book a hotel room, on the — empirically well-supported — grounds that he would be hooking up with someone anyway. so why waste the money?


  38. OMG. This is crazy. Maybe it’s just because I go to small special topic conferences so far (in employment law and constitutional theory), and I’m younger than everyone by at least 7-8 years and everyone else is always married, and I never go to the bars and drink afterwards, but I gotta say: I’M GOING TO THE WRONG CONFERENCES.

    Although you do hear about the few single law profs getting together at their institutions or meeting other law profs at the big conferences (AALS, Law and Society), so I imagine romance must bloom somehow, and perhaps it’s not by exchanging merely business cards. But y’all make this sound like an episode of one of those teenage shows. The Hills or something. I dunno.


  39. @anomie: HA! thanks for the clarification! Godde knows we ventured into risque places for the love of research ;-)


  40. Anyone have thoughts on the Employment Service for grad studnets going on the market? A good use of time, or just a way to run around and exhaust yourself?


  41. i’ve always found ASA to be pretty buttoned-up (after attending for about 8 years) and have heard the same about PAA. perhaps there is a section effect? maybe my perception is skewed also because i compare it to the boozefest that is ASC (crim meetings) — must be the higher proportion of ex-felons walking around (we all lack self-control after all).

    fwiw, smalinky, i did the employment service because i had some spousal considerations that made my search a little weird. i also think its usefulness depends on area and how high you are shooting — the most highly ranked soc programs tend not to do it, but since my area (crim) has a goofy relationship with sociology rankings, there were very good crim programs that participated in the employment service.

    i thought it was helpful — it helped me figure out what questions to ask when i interviewed, what was really important to me, and changed my mind about applying to two places because the interactions were horrendous/strange/disappointing/etc.


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