A First-Timer’s Summit: A Road Not Taken

Danielle Villegas, also known as TechCommGeekMom, is attending the STC Summit for the first time this year, so we’ve asked her to blog about her expectations and excitement approaching the Summit, plus her experiences at the Summit. This is the third post of her series.

When I received my latest virtual copy of STC Intercom, it provided the preliminary list of all the presentations being offered at the STC Summit this year. My first reaction was that of feeling like a kid in a candy store. So many topics! So many options! As I perused through the presentation listings, I could hear myself saying, “Ooh, that looks good!” in my head at all the choices.

But how’s a gal to choose? Ah, STC has helped us. They have organized the presentations into seven tracks to help us decipher what may best apply to our professional needs. They are all highly relevant categories on the cutting edge of what technical communicators need to learn and use to push the field forward, both on a personal level and as a profession.

The thing is … when I think of tracks, the first thing I think of is academic tracks that we were all often wedged into at high school. Going to college? There’s a track for that. Not going to college? There’s a track for that, too. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t like being wedged into only one path. While each of these tracks is a great means of providing some guidance to attendees, personally, I feel confined. I’m sure for many people, these tracks are helpful, but for me, that makes it more confusing. Do I dare cross categories? Or do I concentrate on what relates to what I’m doing professionally right now? I am currently a content manager, but I want to keep up with the latest on m-learning, user design and the use of social media in tech comm. If there was ever a time to take advantage of so many resources in one place, the Summit seems to be the right time, don’t you think?

Being the rebel that I tend to be, most likely I won’t be following the tracks, as helpful as they are. For me, part of the reason I want to go to the Summit is to learn how to not only reinforce the subjects that I’m working with now, but strengthen my other interests as well.

Tracks also make me think of paths, and it appears that there are many progressive paths available to all at the Summit. It reminds me of some of the lines of Robert Frost’s, “A Road Not Taken”:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth….

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Danielle M. Villegas writes the blog TechCommGeekMom.com. She is graduated with her MSPTC degree from NJIT in 2012, and is currently a Web publishing consultant for BASF North America and an instructor for World Learning teaching Business and Technical Writing.

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