Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What to do on Wednesday at PyCon? Help at registration and tutorials!

As we mentioned in Tuesday's post, volunteering is a just as big a need on Wednesday as registration opens and the first of the activities begin: tutorials! If you're signed up for a tutorial, obviously go to and enjoy your tutorial, but if you have some time to spare before or after your tutorial, we could use it.

Registration Desk

The registration desk, as with everything else at PyCon, is staffed by volunteers. If you're looking to help out, make some connections, and meet new people from around the world, why not go where everyone has to go? Starting Wednesday and running through the weekend, everyone that shows up, all 1800+ attendees, will need to stop by the registration desk and pick up their badge. When working the registration desk all you need to do is ask for the attendee's name, find it in the system, then get them setup with a badge. While you're at it, introduce yourself and welcome them to the conference. It's a builtin ice breaker for when you need to find a group to head out to dinner with!

Tutorial Assistants

With this year's tutorials being more packed than ever, many presenters could use a bit of help, or tutorial assistants. An assistant lends a hand to a presenter to be available to help the students of a tutorial. It's a way to keep the tutorial running smoothly by offering your help in your areas of expertise. For example, tutorial presenters who need help on Windows might look to lean on a Windows using assistant to help get a student's environment properly setup. Overall it's a way to contribute to the education of the students while helping out a fellow community member, the presenter, to make for an overall good experience for everyone. If you help out, you just earned yourself lunch with the group - and what better way to make a new friend with the tutorial presenter than to offer your help for their session.

The First Lunch

Speaking of lunch, it's one of the best parts of the conference. Not only do you get to refuel, but you have a chance to meet a handful of new people. My suggestion is to not spend too much time finding a place to sit - just pick a table and sit down. If you came to the conference with a bunch of your coworkers, you'll see them when you get back to work. Head for that table with three people and see what they're up to.

I've found that the best lunch experiences have been when no one there knows each other. Everyone goes around the table and introduces themselves, where they're from, and what they do. Oh you're from Memphis, is the BBQ really that good? You work in Albuquerque? Did you ever see them filming Breaking Bad? Ah, Foo Corp. Are they hiring? Eventually you'll get around to talking about Python stuff :)

Stop by After Dinner!

PyCon does not end at the end of the scheduled day. In the evening there will always be people in the lobby areas working on projects or playing games. The tutorial rooms will be open in the evenings, as will the Open Space rooms during the main conference. Later blog posts will cover some of the scheduled evening events as well. Stop by and see what's going on, or start something yourself. There is even a chance there will be more bag stuffing Wednesday night due to the record attendance. 1800 bags is quite a bit of work.

Above all else, enjoy the first day of the conference!

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