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Amanda Miller's Student Scholar Reflection

Posted by Amanda Miller on July 10, 2018 at 12:23 PM

About a month ago, I attended an intensive three-day orientation session for my summer internship. One of our instructors noted that we were essentially “drinking from a firehose,” and I’ve found that I really like that analogy. As a student soon to be graduating, I’ve recently drunk from a lot of firehoses. Multiple internships, jobs, difficult classes – all have provided the overwhelming firehose experience. I anticipated that the PRIMA Annual Conference would be no different; fun, of course, but an absolutely overwhelming three days. I’m happy to say that I was both right and wrong in the best ways possible.

PRIMA has a powerful asset in each and every one of its members. I believe there were around 1,200 conference attendees (not including the exhibitors), and I estimate that I met at least 1,100 of them.

Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. But my point is, I was definitely drinking from a firehose when it came to meeting new people. But how could I not? Everybody was so welcoming and happy to share their experiences! I met people from everywhere who held any number of job titles. There were city risk managers from the West Coast, insurance personnel from the East Coast, people who worked for school districts and state university systems from Florida to Texas…  Undoubtedly I’m leaving out a few roles and locations, but everybody who attends the PRIMA Annual Conference can find someone from which to learn. They make it easy, too – PRIMA hosts great events that really get people chatting with one another!

I was most concerned that I would be entering a firehose situation when it came to attending the educational sessions. This is also the part where I was wrong. There were oodles of information presented, but the speakers were wonderful about answering questions and breaking down their areas of expertise into layman’s terms for those of us who were less familiar with the topic.

I prefer to think of them as “knowledge sharing sessions” because they were more like conversations between the presenters and the audience members. Challenges and other points of view were welcomed and practical tidbits of advice were thrown out left and right.

A word that I hear often in the classroom is “innovation.” It’s come up quite a bit throughout my work experiences, but I did not realize that I would witness innovation to the degree that I have at the PRIMA Annual Conference. I didn’t attend a single disappointing session, but one of the most interesting for me was a panel about active school shooters. One panel member was a risk manager for a school district very close to Parkland, FL. She had recently purchased an insurance policy that would assist in re-building a school that was structurally sound but had been the site of a tragedy. Her initiative to seek out this kind of policy could save her school district millions of dollars in the case of an attack, and this policy is the first of its kind. What did I say? Innovation!

I advise that you attend the next PRIMA event that you can! Get involved with your local chapter. Consider attending the PRIMA Institute. Go to next year’s annual conference! PRIMA is a great resource – take a leap and drink from that firehose!