If you don't know me already, I am a conference freak. AOTA marks my 10th OT conference I have attended overall in my 3 years in OT while I still am in the student stage of my OT career. This year I have an unbelievably busy schedule. I had a lot of people to meet and I didn't have enough time to provide quality time for everyone that I wanted to meet, asides from the workshops I am attending and the festivities after the business side of the event were over. For an introvert like me, I was exhausted because I literally didn't have any "me-time". The "me-time" I had was when I had to charge my cellphone so that it has enough power for me to put up the tweets I posted for the conference. Because of that, I also didn't have much time to tour around the expo. But overall, I did enjoy the people I got to meet, with many where I got to be finally able to associate names with faces. In fact, I met up with all but one of this year's Steering Committee members of the Assembly of Student Delegates. I got to meet Erik Johnson, aka ArmyOTguy on Twitter, for the first time. I got to meet Fiona Fraser, one of this conference's international visitors! I got to meet Susan Burwash and Anita Hamilton, two of people who are part of OT4OT. Last but not least, I met up with Karen Jacobs, our Slagle lecturer this year. The theme of this entry, however, is to address to the folks who have lost out on the Assembly of Student Delegates elections this year. As a person who had been there, it was a tough pill to swallow. But, losing here doesn't mean that your opportunities to make a difference in the profession is over. Rather, it can be an opportunity to think of alternative ways to make a name for yourself AND come back to the leadership arena as a stronger and tougher competitor. Who knows? Maybe you will win next time. Even if you fall short again, more and more of your "fellow competitors" will respect you. The thing is- do you have what it takes to make that "comeback"? What does it takes to make that "comeback"? In my book, these are my pointers. 1. Vision- I have a very strong long term vision. This includes me delivering a Slagle lecture, being a fellow at AOTA, have my name on a few AJOT articles, etc. In order to reach this rather ambitious goal, I have to make a lot of baby steps and earn my stripes. Yes, losing can be a step back. But, it shouldn't be a giant step back that deters your vision. 2. Getting noticed- What you do has to be noticed by the "right people". For example, your state OT association president, AOTA president, and other who's who of the OT profession. 3. Connection- For the last two years, even though I was on the sidelines for the Assembly of Student Delegates elections, I still connected with the candidates through spreading the word about their campaigns to the student body at USC. Seeing some of them succeed motivated me to succeed as well. Of course, it doesn't hurt to know who your competition is early if you know you are interested in leadership. 4. Social media- Part of the reason for my busy schedule this AOTA was because I have arranged some meet up's via Twitter. Social media can get you exposed to the OT community all over the globe. 5. Give yourself opportunities- If you knock on enough doors, some doors will open wide for you. All in all, these pointers all have one thing in common- being proactive. There are opportunities out there. It's just the matter of whether they are for you, and whether you can take advantage of them.