Twenty UF PRSSA suitcases went to Boston this October. Our enthusiasm and chants could be heard as we walked through the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. You could feel it in the air: National Conference was finally here. The opening night celebration was great as we rocked our Gator gear and showed other schools our Gator pride.
Early mornings started with a cup of coffee and an extensive schedule of events. The topics of each session were phenomenal and the speakers even more so. They would sometimes overlap with each other, so we had to make tough decisions on which ones to attend.
Michael DiSalvo from Ogilvy took the stage on Saturday afternoon to crack the audience with hilarious life experiences and great advice on creativity. Ian Cohen from Weber Shandwick made us laugh, cry and even drop our jaws as he guided us through his journey on visual storytelling.
Another big highlight was our fangirl moment as Judy Smith made her way to the stage Sunday afternoon. In case you were wondering, Smith is the woman behind the Olivia Pope, the iconic main character of the TV show Scandal. Smith walked up and down the aisle as she answered questions, gave advice and even took selfies with the audience. Of course, our UF squad was lucky enough to get a photo with her, and it will forever be in our memory.
Aside from getting advice from professionals, we were also able to bond with each other. We built friendships on lunch dates, walks around the city and karaoke nights. On Sunday we had our chapter dinner at a restaurant called Fire and Ice. We took advantage of the buffet as we talked and shared our experiences with each other.
Monday was the conference’s formal dinner. Everyone was shining in their best attire, cheering on the winners of PRSSA’s scholarships and awards. After dinner, we headed to a Spanish restaurant for a mixer with UF Alumni and professors. It was an excellent opportunity to network and talk to people who were once in our shoes.
PRSSA National Conference was truly a great experience. We all grew as professionals and came back with new life tools, friendships and twitter followers. I can’t wait to see what Austin, Texas will bring to the table next year, as we start the countdown.
Maria Dominguez is a senior at the University of Florida. Follow her on twitter: @MarialeUF