Southern Student Representative
Auburn University Montgomery
2011 Convention Experience
The day before my chapter flew to the convention, the manager at the Learning Center, where I tutor, asked me if I was excited about the convention. I told her I was neither excited nor unexcited. Definitely, I was appreciative for the opportunity to attend the event, but, to my mind, I had little to anticipate that would create excitement. I had never been to convention before, so I could not draw upon previous experiences to formulate what would possibly be in store for me. Only vague notions about what a convention offers could I conjure, especially about an English convention. Besides the opportunity to present academic or creative works and meet people who also enjoy literature, what else could the Sigma Tau Delta convention offer? As I found out, it can offer more enriching and motivating experiences that one could anticipate.
As I listened to students present their works during the various sessions and also read their inventive poetry during the bad poetry contest and on open mic night, I was infused with added desire to hone my own craft and to find compelling ways to express my own ideas. Not that my desire lacked before my ears were tickled and stimulated by words that pleased and ideas that provoked, but these words and ideas made my desire the more intense. Now I carry with me this inspiration as I push myself to improve.
In addition to being inspired by other students' works, I was also giddy with the inebriating pleasure of being immersed in literary discussions. One of the members in my chapter told me about an instance he had experienced at the previous convention: he encountered a conversation weighing the merits of the characters in Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat." When I heard his story, I thought it would be nice to be among a large group of people who knew such topics or, at least, would be genuinely interested in such topics. However, from his story, I could not have anticipated the culminating effect of being in one stimulating discussion after another. It was as if I had stumbled upon a magical place, and once I crossed its threshold, everyone there greeted me with "Welcome! We have been waiting for you."
This sense of community and the added inspiration sent me staggering away from Pittsburgh in a euphoric bliss.