There are only a few weeks left until PASS Summit 2015! Are you as excited as I am!? :D
Tips for PASS Summit First-Timers
First of all: Hi to you! :) PASS Summit is a fun, crazy and amazing event and I hope you get as much out of the week as you possibly can. It can all seem very overwhelming at first, especially if you’re new to the SQL Server community. But don’t worry! The SQL Server community is the best community in the world, and we’re happy to welcome you to the #SQLFamily.
Tip #1: Twitter
If you don’t already have a Twitter account, get one! It’s a great way to get the latest news about what’s happening, connect with attendees, and keep in touch with everyone when you get back home. Follow @sqlpass and use the hashtags #SQLPass, #Summit15 and #SQLFirstTimers to make sure everyone can see your tweets. I recommend using Tweetdeck to organize content into columns, for example a column just for the hashtags mentioned above. It makes it so much easier to use Twitter.
Tip #2: Say “hi!”
I know, I know, I know. People are scary. It can be terrifying to look up from your phone, step out of your comfort zone and approach someone you don’t know. Do it anyway! You will meet so many interesting people, and you will get so much more out of your PASS Summit experience. Maybe it will become a life-changing experience like it did for me and so many others? You won’t know unless you go for it :)
A tip is to look at people’s name badges and ribbons. It will tell you where they’re from, if they’re first-timers, if they’re speaking, if they’re chapter leaders and so on. If you get completely stuck and feel completely awkward and feel like running away, like I have on many occasions, just point at the name badge and read something on it with a question mark at the end. “Summit Volunteer…?” “BimlUser…?” “MVP…?” – and off you go! ;)
Here’s a short list of questions to get you started:
And so on. I’m sure you can add a hundred more to the list! :)
Tip #3: Attend the evening events and don’t eat alone
I know, I’m really pushing this whole “network and be social” thing, aren’t I? :) We all need some quiet time, but try to join someone for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are always someone who are too shy to sit down at a table and introduce themselves, why don’t you join them instead? The Women In Technology and Birds of a Feather luncheons are great events where you can learn and eat at the same time. Finally, attend the Welcome Reception, Exhibitor Reception and Community Appreciation Party where there’s more food, drinks and lots of people having fun. If you’re not done for the night, there are plenty of after hour events organized by and for the community. Have you heard of #SQLKaraoke? It’s a thing. You must experience it once during PASS Summit ;)
Tip #4: Hang out in the Community Zone
There are comfortable bean bags, power outlets and always something going on. You’ll usually find a bunch of people who are active in the community running user groups, SQLSaturdays and virtual chapters. This is the best place to hear how you can keep learning when you get back from PASS Summit. Also, did I mention fun? This year there will be a TeaSQL event for tea lovers, you might spot some crazy costumes and kilts, or you can try juggling said bean bags :)
Tip #5: Get even more tips for first-timers
Attend the PASS Summit first-timers events to get even more tips and meet other first-timers. Read Edwin Sarmiento’s great first-timers guide and read all the blog posts by other members of the SQL Server community. And don’t forget to use Twitter. There are some great #PASSAdvice for all attendees, and just ask if you have any questions!
See you in Seattle!
Enjoy your week, make new friends and learn lots of cool new things. I hope you have a fantastic time in Seattle, and I hope to talk to you there! Please come and say hi if you see me, and I hope to read your tweets :) See you soon!
As for me…?
This will be the third time I’m attending PASS Summit. In 2013 I was a shy first-timer who knew nothing about the SQL Server community, but was immediately welcomed into #SQLFamily. I was so inspired to get involved in my local community that I jumped straight into it as soon as I came back to Norway.
In 2014 I returned to PASS Summit as a SQLSaturday organizer, SQLSaturday speaker, SQL Server User Group Norway board member and PASS Outstanding Volunteer. I had a full schedule and new goals, but I did not expect it to be such a wonderful #SQLFamily reunion or that I would make so many new friends.
And this year? This year it will be yet another new experience since I will be speaking! It’s a Lightning Talk and not a full session, but it still gives me butterflies in my stomach to speak at the largest SQL Server conference in the world. And also! I will be speaking at SQLSaturday #446 Portland, Oregon! Have you seen the schedule? It’s fantastic!
I AM SO EXCITED! :D