I had the privilege of attending the Second Language Research Forum in Atlanta, Georgia. I have been working on a research project and submitted my abstract to the reviewers over the summer. I was fortunately accepted to present at the conference in October. This particular research project has been quite the learning experience! I wrestled with (what I infer to be…) the normal frustrations of nailing down the “right” research idea, determining how to measure certain elements, and the logistics of actually conducting the research.
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend and present at a few conferences, but this was my first experience presenting my personal research. I attended several sessions related to Second Language Acquisition (SLA). If I’m being honest, several research projects went over my head. While I wasn’t quite as intimidated as I expected to be for my own presentation, the fear of a 20-minute time constraint led me to breeze through my slides- whoops! Luckily, those in participation came with great questions. In retrospect, I think I could’ve better addressed these, but ultimately, I deem my first research-related presentation a success.
I engaged in morning pleasantries with a very influential researcher in the field (who was also the keynote speaker from the previous evening). I did not associate his name with his face until later, and realized my words could’ve been better-spent discussing his research or something field-related, rather than inquiring about the weather in Michigan (IT’S COLD, OKAY?). This blunder with names/faces happened quite a few times as first name-only introductions were common (I need to do some investigation before the next SLA Conference…). Those I met at the Conference (ranging from seasoned Researchers and Academics to PhD Candidates) were very welcoming and collaborative. I was expecting a more outwardly competitive environment- this was a very pleasant surprise!
While SLA was the main focus of the conference, it was neat to see the different directions taken and languages investigated. I most enjoyed hearing about different research designs and thinking about how to apply these designs to my own area of study. I came away with several ideas that I look forward to wrestling with in the future!