By; Marisa Fiore, @marisafiore1
PRSSA National Conference. Thinking about how close it is either brings out fear or excitement. Whether this your first conference or your fourth or fifth, here are some tips that will help you survive the conference.
1. Bring a Bag
My first National Conference, I forgot to bring some sort of bag that I could carry my things in. I ended up using a giant zebra print bag and running around with it all conference. To say it was embarrassing is an understatement. Bring a bag that can fit the program, a water bottle, snacks, pens, your business cards and a padfolio. You will thank me later!
2. Bring Snacks
While I am on this topic, bring snacks! The days of the conference are long and if you are anything like me, sometimes your breakfast or lunch doesn’t always fill you up. I am one of those girls who is constantly hungry, so bringing a snack or two in my bag can help tide me over until my next big meal with my chapter.
3. Dress in Layers
You never know what the temperature difference is going to be like in the different ballrooms and outside. Bring a sweater and a rain coat!
4. Take Advantage of Free Things
There will most likely be free water and coffee around the conference or at the breakfasts in the morning. Save your money and fill up a reusable water bottle with the water around the hotel. Your wallet will thank you! And don’t forget the free swag at the Career Exhibition! Use the bag you bring to store all of your new highlighters and pamphlets!
5. Choose your Sessions Beforehand
It is important to look through your program and choose your sessions before you start your day. This way you can plan which sessions are most interesting to you and find other chapter members to attend the session with you.
6. Don’t be Afraid to Take a Break
National Conference can be tiring and overwhelming! Don’t be afraid to take an hour off to catch a breather. It is worth your health and sanity to relax and enjoy the conference. If you need a break, take one!
7. Roll with the Punches
It is likely that at some point over the course of National Conference, things will not go as planned. Especially if you are in a large chapter. It is important to realize that sometimes a change in plans isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Take a deep breath and go with the flow.
8. Pay Attention to Twitter
Many conference attendees will be tweeting with the hashtag #PRSSANC. Even if you don’t want to live tweet, look to see what other people are talking about and to find new people to follow.
Think about why you decided to attend National Conference. To network with professionals? To learn more about public relations? To make new friends? Set a goal for what you want to get out of the conference. There is no wrong answer!
10. Be Open to Meet New People
National Conference is all about getting to know public relations majors from all over the nation. While it is important to bond with your chapter, don’t forget to talk to the person sitting next to you. You never know, they could become your friend for life!
While National Conference is the event that many PRSSA students look forward to all year, it is important to remember that FOMO shouldn’t stop you from taking a break. Don’t get overwhelmed and breathe! This is about to be the best conference of your life! See you in Atlanta!