Saturday, March 24, 2007

Conferences, Journals and Whatnot

The upcoming BUPS conference I'm organising (thanks to a very helpful committee) won't be our biggest one yet, but it should be fun nonetheless. It was perhaps one of the more stressful ones to run, as it involves more personal preparation than the past ones since I'm writing the part of the skills talks (something I don't really feel qualified for, which is why they'll be more about general methodological concerns, which I hope will be helpful), and because this time of year is historically (i.e. from experience of the past years) a very busy time of year, and therefore not the best time to attract loads of people. It's also a time of year where I have a lot on my plate as well... Therefore I'm really looking forward to the conference itself (and the organisational break afterwards). Nothing quite beats seeing effort pay off (let's hope it does).

It's also an important turning point, as it's the last 'big' conference I'll be organising. All that's left after this is a summer conference, which will be a day conference, and an essay competition to run, followed by the annual conference, the preparation of which will be the job of the next chair (and for which I will offer my help, but only as a 'consultant'). This means that my job as chair after this will principally involve preparing BUPS for the shift in management, and ensure that it will thrive next year (and the years to come – touch wood).

It's crazy how quickly this year (and all of university, as a matter of fact) has gone by, but it's nice to note that the optimism that I held about the now-over-two-years-old project that is the British Undergraduate Philosophy Society hasn't proved to be too naive. We've done some good, solid work this year, thanks to the toil of the committee, and ran an increased number of conferences, expanded membership, built the foundations for next year's committee, and several other things... The realisation that it's almost all over, along with undergraduate life as a whole, is a fairly strange feeling. I suppose all one can do at this point is hope that both the society and my academic life fare well in the coming year(s), and reflect back upon what I've gained from it.

These past seven months have been a bumpy ride, with moments of doubt, a few sleepless nights, and some really good times to balance things out. I don't think I would have expected things to get so complicated so quickly, a few years back. On the other hand, I'd be hard pressed to claim I regretted any of it: the organisational stress applied by the running of this society and its events, in conjunction with the workload of a third year, have been higher than what I've experienced in my life, but there is no doubt that the skills I've acquired along the way (in keeping track of so many factors, so many deadlines, and so much correspondence), and the mere fact that I've survived it all with my sanity and nerves left (mostly) untouched, are all in all quite a reward, and will come in useful during the next few years as I face increasingly higher workloads and pressure from the academic environment.

But more than all that, I now know that I can safely face the next person to tell me that philosophy is all about dawdling about, smoking joints, and asking "Why?", and kick him in the face.

Peace out.

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