This year marked my fifth BIO International Convention since joining the BioWorld team. I love the BIO meeting. It’s a great way to learn about new trends in the industry, discover potential sources for future BioWorld stories and finally put a lot of faces to names of people I’ve only talked to over the phone. Plus, the parties are fun.
But it is a completely crazy schedule. And every year, I’ve found myself moving from different levels of alertness and exhaustion over the four-day period, though I admit a lot of is my own fault for trying to do too much.
Here’s my typical BIO progression:
Day One: I’m awake before the alarm goes off. I get to the convention center early, so I can orient myself, figure out where all my meetings and sessions are. I’ve got an ambitious schedule, but that’s OK. I feel good. Sharp. The ideas are flowing, and I go all day through the welcome reception without much of a break.
Day Two: It takes me a little longer to get going this morning. But I’m still feeling good. I hit all the sessions and interviews on my schedule, write my stories for BioWorld Today and still have a couple of hours to traipse through the massive exhibit hall.
Day Three: I hit the snooze button four times. My feet hurt – perhaps that exhibit hall expedition the day before was not such a great idea. But I persevere. Despite my tiredness, I keep up with the schedule, mostly. I make it to the sessions and continue taking notes, though some of my notes don’t make any sense when I read over them later. “Campy potential hobbits biotech,” my notes from one session say. I have no clue what that means. By late afternoon, I start suffering a few temporary fugue states, and my brain starts flashing images of the down comforter and pillow from my hotel room, and I think wistfully how nice it would be to curl up for a few hours of sleep. Instead, I go out for another late night.
Day Four: It’s a blur. Somehow I get lost on my way to the press room. I start alternating between punchy and stuporous. At one point, I nearly start cackling like a loon because I realize I’ve forgotten how to spell “protein.” Shouldn’t it be “i” before “e”? Isn’t that the rule? Huh? Spellcheck says “protein.” That just looks weird, though. What a strange word. Protein. You’ve got your pro, you’ve got your tein. Protein, protein, protein. By the time the conference winds down, I’m approaching zombie territory. And I’m not the only one. There are a lot of zombies walking around on the last day. We bob our heads at each other and say our goodbyes in our new zombie language – it’s kind of a monosyllabic sort of speech – and mechanically hand over the last of our business cards. Then we head home to recover.
Yep. Good times. I can’t wait do to it again in Boston next year!