I always appreciate my good friends in academia extra much during conferences:
1) I like that there is always a backchannel or conversational thread in which we muse about little happenings to unload our brains, and to wish each other well before our talks.
2) I like that these threads collate our plans and whereabouts for the day so we know where to find company when we need it.
3) I like that amidst learning intelligent things and serial networking with semi-strangers, we find pockets of time to reunite across a crowded room for mutual care and to destress before going back to the watering hole.
4) I like that we can read each others’ facial expressions and glances and glares from across the room and help to extract people from difficult situations.
5) I like that we have cultivated a good balance between serious game face mode and pure afterhours frivolity and fun without the stress of needing to activate work persona all the time.
6) I like that we check in with each other to make sure everyone has gotten back safely after a wild night.
7) I like that all this social labour is a genuine, reciprocal friendship that operates out of care rather than pragmatism.
8) I like that I will get to grow up and grow old with these folks throughout my career.
Image: Last panel on the last day featuring #teamaustralia on sexualities. Image kudos to Brady Robards’ Instagram via Sonja Vivienne’s cellphone via Paul Byron’s expert framing skills.