California (day)dreaming by Alicja Heisig
If somebody told me a year ago that in June 2014 I would be going to California to present my own paper during an international conference at UCLA, I would have never believed it. At the time, I was still in the final year of my undergraduate degree in Social and Political Sciences, so was overjoyed just to be accepted to speak. When I was also informed, a couple of weeks later, that I had been awarded the Santander International Connections Award to pay for my conference fees, travel and accommodation, I felt like the luckiest person in the world. This was rapidly followed by some anxiety and doubt! Was there really anything new I could report to a roomful of experienced academics? As it turned out I was the only bachelor student there, most probably the youngest, quite likely the most nervous but definitely the most excited. And soon after I arrived this feeling of excitement overrode all the others. The 7 days that I spent at the International Conference on Conversation Analysis at UCLA were an unforgettable experience for me. In a vibrant, international environment of scholars, social scientists and professors from all over the world including a team from York, I had a chance to talk to my CA “celebrities” whose articles and books I had read and studied, I was able to network and make a lot of inspiring acquaintances and, most importantly, I managed to interest some conversation analysts and other participants in my research, which I was truly delighted about. The take home message is: even if you’re at the very start of your career, it’s worth a little bit of dreaming – sometimes those dreams can become a reality more readily than you’d think.