My opening lessons came in the wee hours of the morning today. First was the reminder that I had forgotten to bring my own pillow. The dorm beds had a pillow..at least I think there was a pillow inside the case – it was really hard to tell.
Secondly, for all you folks here at GRIP who are over 4’6″ tall and having trouble with your dorm temperature: You’ll need to squat down to see the magic control lever that you use to adjust that rather important setting. All the way to the left is “Woolly Mammoth Preservation”, which is what mine was set on last night.
On to the institute. Wow, just wow. As expected, billed, and reviewed, I am loving Tom Jones’ class. We had four sessions today…and we were still somewhere in the middle of the second lesson when the end of the day arrived. We were forewarned that this would happen, though. The focus of most of today was on evidence orientation – evaluating source, information, and evidence. In the last session, we moved on to research planning, which I really enjoyed given that I just did a presentation on this topic at the OGS Library in Bellville. The structure was part lecture/part group discussion within our tables, and really got people thinking about the topics discussed. Somehow, I ended up being the table spokesperson. I swear – I’m actually very quiet. Why will no one believe me?
There’s really no way to try and capture in a simple blog post what you cover and learn in the course of a day at something like this – especially given the rather exhausting schedule. The only thing that is probably saving me tonight is that our homework assignments don’t start until tomorrow. What I do want to highlight is the opportunity that the institute offers for making new friends.
While the schedule is pretty demanding, there is ample opportunity to get to know people. In fact, if you don’t take the time to do that, you are pretty much wasting ample opportunities. At breakfast, lunch, and dinner I sat with different groups each time. Again, I am pretty quiet (really…no really), and that’s not necessarily something that’s easy for me to do, but I love listening and participating in different conversations. Everyone has something different to offer, yet we are all united in out passion and interest in genealogy, so there aren’t a lot of pregnant pauses.
I won’t get on the networking soapbox, but I will provide a specific example of why you might want to do it: Talking to people here, there are a number of us that are either on the BCG clock, or are doing the work to be ready to submit once they are. After lunch we were discussing our fears, concerns, specific examples about certification. Suddenly, someone had a revelation about their submission idea. Then we discovered we were making more of some of the requirements then necessary. And then I had a sudden spark of inspiration and discovered a KDP project for which I had done most of the work already and just need to clean it up some. All this because a group of us had the opportunity to get together and talk in a creative and charged environment.
And since being in class all day and talking about genealogy for every available minute wasn’t enough for us genealogy junkies – most of us also attended an additional lecture this evening – an excellent lecture by Pamela Stone Eagleson about writing a family narrative.
I’m telling you – if you are on the fence, get off. This is far more beneficial and less stressful (so far!) than the hectic and disjointed conference experience often is. Now, if I’ve mastered the thermostat and my new pillow purchased from Target works out okay, I’ll be all rested up, batteries recharged for tomorrow