Part 1 – The Student Perspective on the Annual Convention
by Anthony DiCarlo, Jonathan Gilkinson, and Jeffrey Atkinson
As a group of three mature students from Mohawk College in Ontario, Canada, receiving scholarships to attend the RCI Convention in 2017 was a tremendous honor. Over the course of four days, we experienced significant professional development, camaraderie, and networking that will be instrumental as we continue to pursue our careers in the field.
Our mentor, Jennifer Hogan, was a fantastic resource. She treated us with respect and professionalism at all times. Jennifer was a very well-connected professional who shared her network with us throughout the convention. Due to Jennifer’s willingness to guide and lead us through the four days, all of us left the convention with several more contacts than we would have attained without her support. Jennifer, as the current president of our local RCI chapter, was able to schedule to meet with us both before and after the convention. It was very much appreciated that Jennifer took the time to introduce us to everyone, and we are very grateful for that. What surprised us most, however, was the amount of unofficial mentorship we also received. The members of our local chapter were also fantastic mentors and supported us with anything we needed, whether it meant establishing a connection or answering any questions we may have had.
The seminars we attended were very informative and educational. A huge range of topics were presented in a professional manner, with well researched and developed content. We also thoroughly enjoyed the keynote speaker, Bill Walton, and the lessons he shared with us about overcoming adversity.
We are thankful for the opportunity to have participated in such a high level of professional development before graduation. Ultimately, this prepares us with knowledge in the field ahead of our peers, and provided us with exposure to a professional-level convention. As upcoming professionals, this experience is invaluable. We will be able to attend conferences and conventions at the start of our careers with a greater level of confidence gained by participating in the RCI convention.
None of this would have been possible without receiving scholarships from RCI and the generosity of the sponsors. In a span of only a few days, we had the opportunity to attend multiple seminars, make valuable connections, and experience a truly professional development opportunity. On a student budget, an experience like this would not be financially possible. We are filled with gratitude for the opportunity to learn and grow as upcoming professionals.
We hope to attend the RCI convention in 2018 in Houston, Texas, and encourage all fellow students to apply for this amazing learning experience.
There are several ways to help support more students like Anthony, Jonathan, and Jeffrey at the annual convention.
Contributions to the RCI Foundations’ “RCI Convention Student Participation Fund” enable college and university students to attend the RCI Convention and Trade Show. To make a donation, please visit this link: http://www.rcifoundation.org/donate.aspx
Volunteer mentors are needed to help support the students who receive the funding. Please be on the lookout for our follow-up articles Knowledge, Networking, and Fun Parts 2 and 3: “The Mentor Perspective on the Annual Convention” and “Tips and Tricks for Mentors at the 2018 Convention,” as well as the call for volunteers prior to convention.