After reading the title of this post, you might be thinking, “Professional conferences? Trainings? I’m already learning so much! Isn’t that for after I graduate?” Well, yes and no. You are learning so much and there is a lot on your plate. Now is also a great time to maximize learning about your career. While we can, of course, attend the events after graduation, it’s actually common for students to attend!
We SOLES students occasionally hear of opportunities to attend professional trainings and conferences. I remember seeing these in the CMFT emails (recently changed to blog posts) before I decided to apply to one. I read about them and considered which one might be the best fit to help me achieve my future goals. I watched the opportunities as they came and went, and maintained faith that eventually the right conference or training would present itself.
Then one day out of the blue, there it was. The perfect opportunity. I remember reading about the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association (CFHA) conference in a new CMFT email. I was excited and instantly decided that I was going to this conference. So, I applied for funding to attend. Fun fact: In order to facilitate student attendance at professional trainings and conferences, SOLES often awards funding if we apply. The application process is fairly straightforward. After I navigated this successfully, I knew that I had a wonderful experience in my near future.
The conference I attended was truly great. A host of professionals with a passion for integrated mental health including our group of USD students and faculty took over an entire hotel for a three day weekend in downtown Denver, CO. The conference included presentations relevant to future clinical work, resources, opportunities to network (with leaders, educators, future employers, colleagues, etc.), exposure to a wealth of new research, and so much more. It was an incredibly valuable experience that I am confident will influence my future career. I envision myself attending the conference for many years to come.
There are so many great events happening near us and SOLES does a wonderful job of supporting students to attend them. If you haven’t yet attended one of the many professional trainings and conferences that are accessible to you, I highly recommend taking a closer look at the opportunities. You never know- it just might lead you to an even brighter future!