I managed one partial day of an academic conference. The conference was from Wednesday through Sunday at noon. I attended four hours in the middle of Friday and that was more than enough for my system. Enough to attend a single presentation and give my own presentation before needing to recover from the social interactions.
I had hoped to last longer and attend most of the Friday and Saturday events and sessions. Unfortunately, the stress of being in an unfamiliar setting meant I started Friday a bit late. After trying to attend the luncheon, which was in a large and noisy ballroom, I had to sit in a room alone for an hour before delivering my own presentation.
After my presentation, I returned to the hotel and soon fell asleep. I decided it was definitely best to return home on Saturday. From Thursday through Saturday, I hadn't eaten a meal. Getting home was essential.
The drive, all 612.5 miles each way, was actually relaxing. Just me and my favorite music. It was preferable to trying to make small talk or listening to presentations that didn't quite match my personal interests at the moment.
It's always a struggle to attend conferences. I know networking is essential in most careers, but I hate large gatherings. I like small groups, in quiet settings. There were many reasons for being stressed in the conference setting, but the social aspects remain the most challenging. I takes far too much will power for me to attend presentations. The one I did attend, I ended up hearing (and now recalling) various conversations that were occurring while the speaker was presenting.
People seem to love gathering. I wanted to be home with my wife and cats.