I returned last night from the 2014 SIGCSE Symposium. It was fantastic as always, with so many things to do and people to see. I’ve written a lot about the benefits of conferences, but if I’m being honest I also have to admit that attending conferences is exhausting. I never sleep well in hotels, and early morning talks combined with late-night socializing doesn’t help in the least. Work piles up while I’m gone, and I also miss my partner and daughter when I’m away. As a result I’m happy to get home, even if it means facing hours and hours of work.
At the same time, I’m also sad to leave conferences. Some of my favorite people in the world are colleagues I meet at computing education conferences. They’re smart, fun, interesting, funny, and make me happy, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. But they live in South Carolina, New York, Finland, Australia, or New Zealand (among many other far-away places), which means I don’t have a chance to see them more than a few times a year. So leaving a conference means saying goodbye to them for 6 months or a year, which is entirely too long. I should probably be happy that I have them in my life at all, but right now that’s small consolation.