After several hours on the road, I’ve finally made it to the beautiful city of Baltimore, Maryland! I’ve settled in for the night and I’m preparing to get up early and take in everything there is to see and do at the Conference’s first full day tomorrow.
My job as a volunteer, as I understand it, is going to be pretty basic. I will be helping with the welcome area in the morning, monitoring one room/session in the afternoon and helping hand out bags during the keynote address. They said I would get a T-shirt to help people identify me as a volunteer – albeit one with very little knowledge of the actual conference goings-on – and I hope I get to keep it! If not, I’ll just pick up lots of cool stuff I hear is available at the Expo when I go on Friday. 🙂
Although I couldn’t afford conference registration this year with my very limited undergraduate student budget, volunteering seems like a great way to get a taste of the conference experience and give back to the greater occupational therapy community as well. For my one day of volunteering, I get to attend the education sessions taking place in the room I’m monitoring for free. I also get the chance to be there for the keynote address – featuring several wounded warriors and my hero the Army OT Guy! Finally, I’ll also get free admission to the amazing Expo on a day of my choosing. In addition to all of these perks, I can take part in any of the open sessions being held in the new “Networking Lounge” and learn more about a variety of topics while networking with other students and professionals. All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with the opportunities that are going to be available to me and I hope to take advantage of all of them!
I’ll also be trying to take pictures of the conference and my experiences there so I can have a record of my first real AOTA event. I’m not a particularly good photographer, so we’ll see how it goes. But if I get one picture with the Army OT Guy then I will consider my mission here BEYOND complete!!!
On that slightly stalkerish note, I’m going to head for bed and get ready to be the AOTA’s most excited and energetic volunteer ever tomorrow!