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May 7, 2008: A Few Words of Advice

General Assembly is a physical marathon. It is long days and short nights. If you are at all introverted, it can become overwhelming with information and people overload. If you are technically challenged, it will be a test of your patience. If you are politically sensitive, it will be shocking. That said, it also is a lot of fun. There are some tips and tricks -- mundane things -- that help make the week a little better.

Many first-time Assembly attenders are surprised at how tired they get. It is why I am writing now -- at about the 45 day mark -- to encourage you to do a couple of things:

a. Think about the clothes you will be bringing -- think differently than you would a vacation. As much as you would like to think you will have plenty of time to sight-see around San Jose -- it is not real unless you are going to arrive several days early or stay several days late. Thus, plan on clothing for air conditioned hotel rooms.

b. Think about the other stuff you will be bringing. Your ability to pack and bring things to San Jose will be dependent upon your mode of travel. I have the luxury of driving, giving me a little more flexibility to have a broader definition of "absolutely necessary." One important thing: chapstick. It will be dry.

c. Think about what you will be eating. This is particularly true if you are planning on attending a lot of the meals in the convention center. If you eat differently than normal during the week, your body will feel different. Hotel and convention center coffee is not the same as your own (yes, I will be bringing my own...let those of you with ears to hear...).

d. Think about getting your walking shoes now -- and breaking them in. Even though the hotels and convention center are very close, there will be a lot, a lot, a lot of walking. You should figure that you will be walking 3 or 4 miles per day. Much of it will involve carrying a laptop (at least) and other notebooks and papers.

e. Think about your time. Plan times in your schedule for prayer. Make a mental commitment to stick to those times, regardless of what else is happening. The temptation will be to think, "Oh, I'll just make time later to pray." Don't succumb. You won't. Plan times in your schedule for alone time. Just because there are multiple events available does NOT mean that you must be doing something at all times. Just because you have purchased a ticket for something does NOT mean you must go. Go only to the things that will bless you.

More as we get closer.