Of all the things we covered this week, there were a few lessons I learned that had very little to do with Southern genealogy. Case in point: I’ve been invited to speak at the Rockdale County (GA) Genealogical Society this coming August. I hope to have a powerpoint presentation ready to illustrate various items in the lecture, and I know I’ll need to create a really outstanding handout as well. So, I spent a good deal of time studying the format of this week’s lectures, the various types of slides used, and comparing syllabus layouts with the needs of my target audience. I learned quite a bit about the process during this week, but I’m fairly certain our instructors didn’t have those lessons in mind when creating their lectures.
If I’m able to attend next year’s institute, I’ll most definitely get a hotel rather than stay in the dorm. Now, the dorms are convenient, what with being right on campus, and I did have two very lovely suite mates. On the other hand, the beds were uncomfortable, the upstairs neighbor was loud (unintentionally, I’m certain), and I felt awkward retreating to my room (rather than participating in planned activities or socializing) to gain the downtime I need at the end of a hectic day. Believe it or not, I’m an anti-social introvert. Just ask my family. That quiet time is absolutely necessary to my continued mental acuity. Not only am I in information overload, but I’m in social overload as well. Lesson learned? Stay in a hotel.
Having a car handy was absolutely a plus. I brought my linens in a laundry basket, and that was downright handy. One thing I neglected to bring that I went out for was snacks and breakfast foods. An eight a.m. class time is fine and dandy, but I wouldn’t have made it through the day if I’d had to get up early enough to cross campus and eat breakfast in time to be in class then. So next time, I’ll be a bit more prepared for that.
One huge help was the pre-institute facebook page. There, students, faculty, and staff who attended in previous years offered some sound advice for those of us who had never been. It also served as a great place for folks needing rides to and from the airport to find others in need of the same. I hope this feature will be continued for future participants.