Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Excitement for the conference was building as I flew from Seattle to Philadelphia. I was ready to
network, job search, reconnect with old friends, and enjoy spending a few days off campus. I arrived
in Philadelphia and patiently waited for my luggage. I kept waiting. The airport began to clear out. I
started to panic a little, but tried to remain confident. I found a representative from the airline and
they said they had been trying to call me because my luggage could not be found and did not arrive
in Philadelphia. It was lost somewhere in an abyss, unable to be found because of faulty scanning
equipment in Chicago. Essentially, no one had any idea where it was.
So there I was, without my suit, with no shirts, ties, socks, underwear, toiletries, phone/computer
chargers, etc. They said that most bags are recovered within 24 hours, so I didn’t worry too much.
Luckily, a friend of mine who was there had brought two suits, so after frantically running to his hotel at
midnight and trying on his suit, I settled in to try and sleep before the conference began.
Long story short, I did not receive my luggage back until about three weeks later. Mysteriously, my
shampoo, toothpaste, cologne, and phone charger were missing. I was also repeatedly questioned
about my involvement in a burglary/identity theft scam in Rancho Cucamonga, California, due to some
documents that were supposedly found in my luggage. Needless to say, it was an interesting experience.
The bright spot was that due to my constant yelling and throwing a fit over the phone, I was able to get
them to give me $200.00 to buy a few new shirts and ties for the conference. I unfortunately forgot to
buy new socks during this time, and after seven days of continued wear, my smelly pair of socks had to
be thrown out.
Despite living in someone else’s clothes for four days, and using harsh hotel soaps, shampoos, and
razors, I had a great time at the conference and learned a lot. I got to see Emmanuel Jal, a former child
soldier from Sudan, speak and perform his music. I attended a session about the 10 myths of social
justice, which spurred introspection and reflection. I was able to reconnect with old colleagues and
meet new ones. It was my first national conference, and though it didn’t start off particularly great, the
professional development I received from attending was top-notch. Next time, I just know to only pack a
Andrew McGeehan, Student Development Administration