By Ashleigh Mavros, Ohio University graduate
I’m an odd one; I did the whole graduation thing a bit differently. I got a job, received my diploma and will return next week to walk at commencement. Usually, it’s the other way around. Nonetheless, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to dive into the PR industry at Fahlgren Mortine.
I toyed with the idea of writing a reflection about my time at OU, but it didn’t feel right (and it would just be rubbing more salt in the wound), so instead I wanted to pass along my experiences thus far as a Yo-PRo (young professional).
Professors, speakers and older friends always give us advice for the “real world” – I’m here to tell you LISTEN UP because they’re definitely on to something. Here’s what you need to trust me on:
Analytics are everything. Remember rolling your eyes and dozing off as soon as a professor mentioned ROI? BAD CHOICE. Analytics are at the core of all social, and if you can’t prove to a client what results you’re driving, then you’re not really doing much. I work on elaborate 20-page social reports on a monthly basis – you’ll be thankful you paid attention in class.
Find your balance of Diet Coke Breaks and personal time. One of the hardest things you’ll come across in the first few months is the struggle between your type-A personality wanting to take on every project, working 10-hour days vs. longing to actually enjoy post-grad life and not get burnt out. There’s no right answer to this, but you’ll have to continuously work on striking the right balance.
Brevity, brevity, brevity. You’ll hear this a million times, but it rings true. The best writers are the ones who get a message across in a short, concise manner. I produce weekly reports for a foreign automaker that get distributed to a handful of non-English speakers. My writing has to be straight, to the point, and digestible. This holds true for any audience you’re targeting. You’ll be a hot commodity if you nail this down by the time you begin your first job.
Don’t take your first job offer & never stop learning. These go hand in hand – if you’re not coming into the office every day and being challenged and inspired by those around you, you’re in the wrong place. Don’t ever be the smartest person in the room, but make sure your opinion is appreciated. Don’t take a job just because it’s a job – you’re Scripps Kids and are deserving of a career you love.
Everything happens for a reason. This has become my life mantra – sleepless nights, dozens of tears and mini-breakdowns throughout the past couple years seem silly now. I wish I could pound this into your heads – you will end up at the right place at the right time.
Life doesn’t end after graduation, I promise! Do I miss Ohio University? More than I could ever put in words. But I know in less than two weeks all of my friends that made Athens such a special place will also be moving on. My lifestyle has definitely changed; happy hours have become my old Liquor Pitchers. My 2 a.m. bedtime is now midnight. It’s a big change, but I’ve loved every minute of it. Hard to believe, but things do get better. Onward and upward.