Publication Date

December 1, 1997

Graduate students attending their first annual meeting may find it to be a little more overwhelming than they might have suspected. Usually there are more than four thousand people in attendance and the affair often seems one part carnival, one part high school reunion, and one part professional meeting. A few simple preparations can help ensure a successful trip.

The Seattle annual meeting is easily accessible by air or rail. Those needing to make flight reservations can take advantage of special deals offered through Association Travel Concepts at (800) 458-9383. (See page 8 of the annual meeting Program for details.) More information concerning travel arrangements, as well as the entire contents the annual meeting Program, is also available from the Association’s web site, which includes a set of links to pages on traveling to and visiting in Seattle.

After arriving, accommodations are, of course, a primary concern. As always, the AHA's convention director has secured several blocks of very reasonably priced rooms; singles are available for as low as $83 at the Hilton and $89 at the Sheraton, Westin, and Madison. For those who can share a room, rates for double twin rooms are between $98 and $114; add a third person and the savings increase even more. The best deals are at the Madison and the Hilton, which allow the addition of a third person for only $15.

If you are planning to meet with friends at the annual meeting, every effort should be made to arrange a precise time and place beforehand. The Book Exhibit is a popular and convenient location that allows for a diversion in case the person you are meeting is late. The AHA also maintains a locator file, which is most useful on the first but which does depend on the other son filling out the appropriate forms.

Once settled, students will want to take every opportunity to become acquainted with the profession and the career opportunities it offers. Among the meeting sessions of special interest to graduate students are "Interviewing in the Job Market of the 1990s: A Workshop" (Friday, January 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m. in the Sheraton's Metropolitan Ballroom). This session provides practical tips for interviewees as well as practice sessions with experienced interviewers. Over the years it has been one of the AHA's most popular sessions among graduate students. There are also several other sessions focusing on teaching issues and the use of part-time faculty. Rounding out the selection will be a cash bar reception for students on Friday, January 9, 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Sheraton's East Ballroom. For full details, consult the annual meeting Program, pages 17-18.

In addition to the sessions and receptions, graduate students should also note the numerous meetings of affiliated societies and other groups that focus on regional or thematic areas of interest. These meetings offer students the chance to make contacts with other specialists, both graduate and senior scholars, in their own field. Along with the presentation of scholarly work, these sessions often sponsor informative get-togethers, receptions, luncheons, and the like. (See pages 19-43 of the Program.)

Many graduate students who have attended the convention before will be returning to the meeting this year for the express purpose of interviewing. Those who have prearranged interviews should try to confirm the time and exact location beforehand. Some schools like to avoid the hustle and bustle of the Job Register and secure their own facilities. The AHA staff will only be able to assist with those interviews arranged through the Job Register. Those who will have interviews conducted through the Job Register should check in early and take note of the location scheduled for the interview. To minimize problems and expenses, be sure to bring plenty of extra copies of your c.v. and any other information you plan to share with prospective employers. (Many appreciate seeing syllabuses of courses taught.) Please bring these supplemental materials to the interview; do not submit them with your message form and c.v. There is a Kinko's Copy Center located in the Convention Center, though lines may be long at times. Notepads, pens, and staplers will also be in short supply.

Of course the best laid plans sometimes go awry. If so, please feel free to stop by the AHA headquarters office (Center Rm. 202). Staff there may be able to help or to direct you to the appropriate party.

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