Public relations is more than a major––it’s a strong-knit, creative, determined community. My mind fills with nostalgia and appreciation as I reflect on what studying PR has taught me over the course of my undergrad career.
- Describing PR to others is no easy task.
“So what exactly is PR?” remains a constant question I hear over and over again from friends and family. Public relations is truly dynamic and encompasses many varying aspects––it’s more than building and maintaining a company’s reputation. One of my professors explained it as a combination of art, psychology, business, journalism, and communication. Let’s sit down over some pizza for an hour and then maybe you’ll get the gist.
- #Hashtags are socially acceptable on some homework assignments.
I have my social media class to thank for this. Need I say more?
- Networking should become your PR love language.
You’ve heard it a million times but networking really can launch your career to the moon. Always take the opportunity to meet PR professionals and fellow PR students from other universities. Make sure to follow up with them and stay in contact––whether that being LinkedIn or sending a quick email––it will pay off. Look around for local networking events in your area and make sure to exchange those fancy business cards.
- Gaining experience is both fun and rewarding.
Get involved in your campus’ Public Relations Student Society Association (PRSSA) chapter, student-run PR agency, or the school newspaper. Check to see if there are any internships available on campus and don’t hesitate to look for internships everywhere. My program required us to have completed 3 internships before graduating––I fulfilled 10. During a PR agency tour my freshman year of college, the professional told us that experience is more important than an applicant’s GPA. So, get out there!
- You’d better be good at juggling.
Juggling your busy schedule, that is. Forbes rated public relations as the seventh most stressful careers in the United States. It truly takes a special personality to handle it all with grace and effortlessness. I made the mistake of getting burnt out my sophomore year of college. Please learn from my mistakes and Netflix binge when necessary.
- Write, write, write, and then write some more. And then some more again.
Being a strong writer is more important than you initially realize. While verbal communication is vital in PR, professionals will tell you that written communication is even more essential. Among press releases, blog posts, social media plans or preparing a pitch––the list is endless and requires you to be a strong and captivating writer with every project.
- You will never be able to look at a company’s branding the same ever again.
Ooh I like the colors they chose, the shape of their logo, but not so much their tagline. Naturally, you start critiquing how you would keep it the same or do it differently before you even notice that you’re critiquing in the first place.
- All that former Facebook stalking will come in handy.
Remember all those late nights with your best friend when Internet stalking the cute guy from English class? Sifting through his social media profiles to learn more about him and his interests? Luckily, all this practice will come in handy for any public relations professional. Whether you have to track down a journalist or research a company, you’ll know exactly what to do. Growing up in the tech-savvy age is pretty convenient if you ask me.
- Take your creativity out of the box.
I am quite the dreamer and always have big ideas. But for a while, I was always afraid to share them and speak up for fear that my ideas were too crazy. I was quick to remember that PR is all about being innovative and original. So for the love of creativeness, speak up!
- The PR community will become your best friend.
PR majors typically love talking and meeting new people, which brings us all together as good friends––especially when paired with a cup of coffee. No one gets you quite like your fellow PR majors. They understand why you put Twitter as a skill on LinkedIn or why you spend too many hours deciding on which layout to use for your online portfolio. At the end of the chaotic day, majoring in public relations causes you to lose much sleep but gain many PR best friends for life. It’s really the best––times a million.