A few weekends ago was the Midwest Veterinary Conference here in Columbus, which was a wonderful experience as always. I volunteered to assist and introduce speakers for various topics, was able to hear some great lectures, wandered around the exhibit hall to learn about new products (and picked up a good supply of pens, lol), and most importantly visited with old friends and acquaintances as well as make new ones.
One thing I always do is carry a stack of business cards in my wallet, so if I have an interesting conversation with someone that requires further discussion or contact via email I can simply hand them a card. I handed out quite a few cards as well as collected a bunch for various reasons. I love going through the exhibit hall at any conference for many reasons. First, there is the occasional free book or dog toy and lots of other free things like pens or highlighters, which are great to grab for school. Another reason I enjoy it is because you can learn about the newest products from various companies. It is great to find out whether the newest flea and tick product on the market really is as good as they say it is, or if it is just a fancy version of what was available before.
Most of all though, I enjoy meeting the representatives for various companies. They are great people and a lot of the time they are the representatives who take time to come to school for events or donate supplies for the occasional wet lab or project. Another great reason to get to know local representatives from around your state is that they often know about practices that are looking to expand and jobs that might be available even before positions are advertised. They can be a great resource to go to when you are looking for a job. That seems a long way off, but the four years fly by quickly.