How to make the most of the Best of the Midwest Convention

Our Best of the Midwest convention is finally here!

We’re getting excited — #ACPBOM is Feb. 16-18 in Minneapolis. We bet you’re excited too, but there’s still a lot to prepare for.

Here’s how you can make your weekend in Minneapolis really worthwhile.

The basics

The convention is held at the Millenium Hotel. That’ll be the hub of our events, so that’s where you’ll find the workshops, keynote addresses, Best of Show and more.

Our hotel is right next to downtown Minneapolis and Nicollet Mall, and you’re free to travel and explore when sessions end for the day. Here are 5 things you can do nearby.

What to expect

Best of the Midwest is a gathering of about 250 of the best and brightest college media students in the region. You’ll have a chance to mingle, learn at our 30+ practical learning sessions (including breakouts, keynotes and discussion groups) and find solutions to issues you haven’t been able to solve yet. You can also sign up for a critique of your publication and submit your work for a Best of Show award.

We’re excited to welcome Kirsten Anderson and Chad Nelson as our keynote speakers for the convention. You can learn more about them here.

How to make the most of it

Articulate your goals: Try to pinpoint exactly what you want to learn and write down your goals. One study found that people who regularly wrote down their goals were 42 percent more likely to achieve them. It certainly can’t hurt.

Talk about these goals with your team, and check in each day to see what each of you learned, how you can apply it to your organization and what questions you still have.

Take notes: You’re going to get a ton of information at this convention — probably more than you can remember. Improve your chances of retaining all the tips you learn by bringing a notebook and pen and simply writing them down. (Plus, this is a great place to write down your goals and review them before sessions start.)

Write down how things can apply to you as you think of them. Jot down ideas and questions as they come to you. Use the notebook as inspiration throughout the school year, when you feel stressed or stuck. You might remember something brilliant you learned at the convention.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Conventions can be intimidating, but the entire point of them is to help newsroom thrive. Get what you need — sign up for a critique, introduce yourself to workshop speakers and take advantage of every opportunity at the convention.

Branch out: It’s easy to stick with your close-knit group of friends from the newsroom, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to spark conversations and connections with other student journalists. Chat with your peers during session breaks, or grab lunch with a new group. Vent about your frustrations, work to find solutions to common problems and pick their brains — some newsrooms do things totally differently, and another student might have the answer to the problem you’ve been facing. All you have to do is ask.

So get excited to learn, meet some of the brightest students in college media and, of course, have fun in Minneapolis!