The 40 People You Meet at Higher Education Conferences, Part III

[View Part I]

[View Part II]

Woohoo, time for our final edition!

The Dating App User: The term ‘dating’ is relative, but not always sexy time so I’ll separate it from the type mentioned above. Grindr is always poppin’, and lesser known dating apps get a boost during conference season too. Now with Tindr, so many phones are gonna be buzzing. Let the excitement of seeing your colleagues’ naked torso photos begin!

htgawm - dating app

The Intense Networker: They’re at every session, every social, and doing private coffee dates with people. They have their small talk down to a science, with the hopes of scoring yet another business card.

Small talk networking

The Self-Esteem Queen: This person (regardless of gender) thinks very highly of themselves and has never really been criticized before. Going to their sessions means a droning lecture and very little dialogue, because don’t you realize how fortunate you are to learn from them? Daring to critique them never ends well…

everyone ele think im wonderful

The Volun-Told: They don’t want to be here, but they’re being forced to attend. Perhaps they have to recruit for new staff, their institution is a sponsor, or they’re mandated to present on work-related matters.

30 rock - stay up what fresh hell tomo

Sleazy Older Married Man Director Who Pays Extra Attention to Young Female Grad Students: Enough said.


The Presenter Tries Way Too Hard to Incorporate the Already Lame Conference Theme: Maybe one day we’ll just let go of the idea that conferences need snazzy themes. Let’s just settle on “Learning things, talking to people, and drinking” in the future.

trying too hard

The Hugger: They are just really excited to see you again, and have all the feels (x10 when drinking)!!!!!!!!!

spn - sam

The Person Who Can’t Get Lunch Alone: By the end of the night, their throats hurt from talking all day.

SPN - Lucifer - pay attention to me im bored

The Eager Beaver: It’s their first conference and THEY ARE SO EXCITED.

luna lovegood and dad dancing

Drama Kings: Gossip all day err’day! They enjoy stirring the pot and getting folks riled up.

Jane the Virgin - Dramatic

The Person with 9 Roommates: Times are tough (+people want to pocket work travel reimbursements), so better believe their hotel room is packed with people.


The Jaded Professional: They work in higher education, but they kinda hate it and pretty much everyone else working in it.

office - patience

The Professional Session Critic: Prepare to weep softly if they attend your presentation, because they will shred you with their cutting questions

judging and drinking

Social Justice Warrior: This isn’t a bad thing – we need people making our conferences more inclusive! But face it, it is one type of person you’ll find at any higher ed conference (myself, included).



The following individuals contributed a name, description, or otherwise idea/inspiration for the different types of people you meet at conferences. A few people gave ideas for multiple ones and a few people inspired various types with their comments to me; overall definitely more than half this list. Thank you, friends! ❤

  1. Kristen Abell
  2. Chad Ahren
  3. Eric Crumrine
  4. Ashley Dorris
  5. Mika Karikari
  6. Annabel Feider
  7. Alberto Gonzalez
  8. Michael Goodman
  9. Amanda Khampa
  10. Kathryn Magura
  11. Kristen Marshall
  12. Vanessa Pacheco
  13.  Kaitlyn Owens Yoder

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