In November, I attended the annual National Council on Family Relations conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Being my first time at a research based conference, I truly did not know what to expect. At first, I attended because research that I conducted on White/Non-Hispanic, first generation college students was accepted for a poster session. This was a huge accomplishment for me as it was the first time I had completed research as an undergraduate student. As I learned more about the conference, I felt like it was a duty of mine to attend sessions because I am an NCFR member and also the president of a student affiliate of this prestigious organization.
Upon my arrival in Baltimore, I was shocked to see that almost the entire faculty from my department (Family and Child Studies) was there. Many of them have been loyal attendees of this conference for almost twenty years! I instantly realized that this event is more than solely about research. It is about being able to connect to a distant “family” that everyone sees once a year. Immediately I knew that I wanted to be a part of this family.
Overall, I can say my experience in Baltimore was truly life changing. I felt inspired by the amount of research conducted by professionals I had the opportunity to meet. Also, there were many student and new professional sessions that were specifically created to mentor others like me who are new to the family sciences field. This was an excellent opportunity to learn from others and also share ideas, especially about topics related to my organization.
While there were few undergraduates at the conference, I felt lucky to be able to be one of those select few. It gave me the opportunity to realize that I can conduct research and help make a positive change in the world. I became both confident and passionate that after my undergraduate work I want to pursue work towards my doctorate. Furthermore, I made contacts and relationships with other family professionals that can give me guidance through my journey. Most importantly, I became a part of the NCFR family.