OPINION | How attending a convention can boost your academic experience

Utah Tech University’s Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society attended a convention in St. Louis April 3-6. At this convention, students were able to meet fellow English majors from across the nation, attend workshops and share papers. Alyssa Bayles | Sun News Daily

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Picture this: You’re gathered in a room with fellow peers who all enjoy the same area of study. You’re able to share ideas, present topics, gain knowledge and add an experience to your resume. This networking opportunity is why students should partake in conventions.

All students should go to a convention at some point in their academic life. The benefits that conventions have for students make it all worth it.

These benefits include networking, sharing ideas, expanding knowledge and skills, boosting your resume, improving communication skills and having fun with peers.

This year’s Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society celebrated its centennial year in St. Louis. The international convention had over 900 students in attendance.

These undergraduate and graduate English majors, as well as alumni and professors from across the nation, came together to celebrate their love of reading, present papers and attend readings from authors like Carl Phillips, a recent Pulitzer Prize winner.

Listening to Phillips’ poetry reading was such a cool experience. His poetry was so moving and I couldn’t believe I was in the same room as a Pulitzer winner.

This convention broadened my knowledge of English and showed me people who shared the same hobbies as me, which was amazing.

When I work in the poetry pharmacy on campus, I often feel like the people I prescribe poetry to don’t know the poet or fully understand the meaning of poetry. Whereas at this convention, when I handed out poems to fellow English lovers, they would be incredibly excited to receive a poem. It was such a cool experience, and it was incredibly moving to hand poems out to people who really needed to receive them.

I learned a myriad of lessons at this convention. I sat in on presentations that made me feel seen and taught me new ideas that we don’t have specific classes on at our school.

It gave me the confidence to branch out on my own research papers as well. Instead of sticking to a small box, I found hundreds of papers talking about topics I would have never thought to write about.

One of my friends, Jaxon Tueller, a junior English major from Smithfield, also went to the convention. He said he had such a great experience and also loved listening to all the fantastic panels and their presentations.

Tueller’s essay, “Navajo Language: Rebirth in Poetry,” won third place at the convention. His award included prize money, which ended up refunding much of the trip.

We were all so surprised when they called his paper, but Tueller was especially surprised. He said when they called his paper a winner in the poetry category he was shocked. But after the initial shock wore off, he was honored they selected his paper.

The convention not only had research papers, creative nonfiction papers and poetry but included workshops in writing and how to submit work to literary journals.

It was such a great experience, and I loved being able to travel to a new place with my friends.

My friends and I after Jaxon Tueller won his award.

All students should go to a convention at some point in their academic life. The benefits that conventions have for students make it all worth it.