Sunday, February 5, 2017
Rethinking Research Journey Strategy
It's been over a week since I returned from the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, a fantastic learning opportunity set in a prime research destination. It's been no surprise to hear that some fellow SLIG attendees opted to stay on in Salt Lake City for a few days to avail themselves of further research opportunities at the Family History Library. Some even announced their intention to make the trip a double-header, staying on long enough to take in RootsTech, as well.
I wonder how many now regret what seemed like a good idea at the time. Just the other day, on the private Facebook group set up for SLIG attendees, someone mentioned coming down with the flu right after the closing banquet. Those five days reserved for further research? She spent those flat on her back in her hotel room.
Believe me, I'm not much better off than she. While I caught the first flight home after the Friday closing, here I am, smitten by the flu, too. At least I have the luxury of being miserable in my own bed.
All that to say, perhaps I need to rethink preparation for research journeys. Treat them more like training for a triathlon, and less like indulging in the pampered treat we've come to expect from SLIG. After all, the one drawback to attending genealogical institutes in the winter is, well, it's right in the middle of flu season. And I don't know if you are like me, but I'm particularly susceptible to catching everyone's germs when I fly places.
My target list of activities to nix is pretty obvious. Do the homework—if the class expects homework—but quit early enough to get a decent night's sleep. Don't cut out on breakfast because you're running late. And don't think that one of those yummy hazelnut chocolate croissants and a sugary Starbucks coffee are all you need to get you through the morning. In fact, if I could have found a restaurant to provide me a spartan plate of steamed vegetables for dinner, I'd be doing much better now.
It is tempting to allow yourself to be pampered during conferences and institutes, but heeding an athlete's long-term mindset might be a much better approach to maximizing the return on a research journey.