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Inside tips for AU Las Vegas first-timers

autodesk university
October 14, 2015

Attending AU Las Vegas for the first time can be daunting. What should you bring? How do you know where to go? How do you meet people? What if you find out a class you signed up for isn’t for you? To answer these and other questions, we asked AU veterans to give us their best advice for AU freshmen. Here’s what they have to say.
Freshman fodder blog
Let’s start with the basics. AU veteran Caroline Paula Johnston says, “Don’t miss the train, buy your ticket now!” (She’s right—plus, if you purchase your pass before October 18, you’ll save $300.)

And, as Frank Mayfield wisely suggests, “Make sure you attend the Freshman Orientation session with Lynn Allen, Monday evening at 5.”

At Freshman Orientation, Lynn will give you an overview of AU as well as more info about events and gatherings you won’t want to miss. It’s also a great chance to kick-start your networking by meeting fellow first-timers, and familiarize yourself with the event layout so you’ll know where you’re going when classes start on Tuesday.

Many AU veterans advise freshmen to wear comfortable shoes, drink lots of water, and carry lip balm. (That means you too, guys.)

Chuck Dodson has a list of advice for first-timers, including:

  • Pack light. You’ll come back with way more than you took, so leave plenty of space in your luggage.
  • Dress casually. Wear layers and comfortable shoes.
  • If you have an iPhone, take your charger with you each day.
  • Eat all the free food you can.
  • If you go out at night, it will be cold.
  • Save your partying for Thursday night.

Next, a few tips to help you get the most out of your classes:

Lars Rasmussen says, “Go to the ‘what’s new in the next version’ classes. Those are always the first to go in my calendar.”

Vivian Gordon recommends, “Sign up for classes that are outside your main field of study. There is so much out there and AU is a huge chance to grow your mind.”

Similarly, Mark Behrens says, “Change it up and take 1 class on something that you have an interest in, but do not work with. You’ll find that just 1 class in a new subject can really spark your interest in something new.”

Kenton Grant adds, “Keep a ‘second choice’ list of classes. Sometimes classes aren’t what you expected, and that’s okay. Don’t feel obligated to stay. Check out another class or perhaps use that time to see the lounges.”

Christopher Roberts suggests, “Go talk to presenters if you have specific questions, or if there’s more of the process you’d like to know. We’re all busy when we get back to work—this may be the best time to learn. And don’t spend all of your time writing notes—download the handouts beforehand and just watch/listen.”

When class is out, it’s time to get your networking on. The biggest message we got from our social media responses was, “Don’t be shy!”

R. K. McSwain: “Nobody is going to bite you. Go to lunch, pick out a random table, and meet some new people from all over the world. Hang out in the lounges, Exhibit Hall, etc. and network. Like Michael Jordan once said, ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’”

Aaks Luthra: “Meet at least 3 new people every day.”

Kimberly Fuhrman: “Don’t pack your schedule too tightly. Give yourself some time in between classes. There’s so much to take in!”

Christopher Benner: “Remember that we are all tech geeks essentially. You’re in very good company with close to 10,000 people who share at least some of your interests… You never know who you’ll meet. Bring a LOT of business cards and hand them out liberally; this encourages them to reciprocate.”

Lastly, from Jon Wilde: “How about finding out if your regular support engineers are there and putting a face to a name? See if they are manning the Answer Bar at any point and strike up a conversation.”

So, to recap: Wear comfortable shoes, carry lip balm, and be bold. These guidelines will help you to learn, connect, and explore, in comfort.

Check back next week for more AU survival advice from veteran attendees.

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