I can’t believe a month of the semester is already in the books. (Time flies when you are having fun?) In all honesty, one of the things that helps make the academic calendar speed up is the prevalence of guest lectures, seminars, and conferences to attend. As a grad student there are several roles to fill with respect to such opportunities.
A the most basic level you can simply attend a relevant guest lecture to soak in all the information a visiting lecturer can share. Or, if there is not one any time soon, you can arrange for one to come. Most departments have a small pocket of available $$ funds to be used for academic purposes. It is possible to arrange for housing and food for a visitor. With this, you can offer to have a professor or other expert come for 2-3 days. Lastly, you can volunteer to help run a conference. I’ve had the opportunity to co-chair two conferences hosted in the School of Education. These student-led opportunities are invaluable for for both lessons learned and experiences gained. Every conference (both student-led and professional) that I’ve ever been associated with or heard of has always had the opportunity to volunteer and help for several hours during the conference proceedings. So even serving as a volunteer at a professional conference is possible. In totality, the key to these opportunities is to learn, develop, and network with and from those who share the same interests.