A Letter to PR Students

Why Public Relations? A Message of Encouragement

I’ll keep this short, sweet and to the point. The typical public relations practitioner is not notorious for having a remarkably high level of income. Some vocations – like software programming or engineering – allow for more fiscally rewarding entry-level prospects than public relations, but lack the certain “je ne sais quoi” that makes public relations the best preparatory profession for learners and leaders. Why should you immerse yourself in a public relations education? I’ll tell you:

We are perfectly equipped to impact real change in the many communities we populate. As public relations practitioners, we aren’t just members of the working world, we’re a driving force behind trend cultures and the interpretation of societal issues. Being in public relations is about crafting and honing the narrative, whether it is in an advocacy or consumer-facing setting. Who doesn’t want to be known as one of the world’s best storytellers?

A well-trained public relations practitioner is the model professional. We know how to express our thoughts with eloquence and handle difficult situations with tact. We understand markets, business models and client needs. We can see the big picture and can deconstruct it down into a well-fashioned strategic plan. We’re capable, but are team players and have no problem sharing our victories. We are invested in the outcomes and real-world impact of our work.
My message to prospective or burgeoning public relations students is simple: stay the course and reap the benefits of the craft. The hours are long, the work is tedious and, initially, the pay may seem unsatisfactory. However, there is no other profession that will teach you growth the way this one does. We are soon to be the new professionals and, as the future of the industry, we owe it to our friends, our mentors and future selves to do our jobs passionately. Act ethically, work hard and learn as much as you can; one day, that paycheck will be representative of your perseverance and devotion.

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Gary Bridgens is the PRSSA National vice president of Chapter development and a senior at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Follow him on Twitter @garingiscaringconnect with him on LinkedIn or email him at garybridgens@gmail.com.

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