One of the first things I did after starting school at Ohio University was apply for a job. Besides being broke, OU offers the same job I loved at home, so I began coaching Learn to Skate. What started off as just coaching groups of kids that wanted to skate turned into gaining a leadership position as Learn to Skate Director three years later. And when I look back at my three years here so far, being in Scripps and having access to so many valuable connections and opportunities sticks out as the best decision I’ve made, but my job is a close second. While student jobs may not directly relate to public relations, the lessons I’ve learned, the people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve received helped me in my major more than I initially realized.
With no professional figure skating staff member, I often have to deal with a lot of the complaints and concerns about our program first-hand, some of which are very nice and some of which are not. I am constantly in contact with the community and university faculty, and having to talk with many different people in many different contexts sharpened my communication skills. Student jobs also present the challenge of time management. We are all super-involved people, and student jobs just add to the list of responsibilities. Between classes, meetings, planning Learn to Skate sessions, prepping for ice shows and coaching my students, there is very little time for me to relax. Having these extra responsibilities was a huge wake up call, but working while being a student forced me to be better at time management.
Aside from professional skills, my student job introduced me to some of my best friends. Even cooler, none of them are in my major. Scripps gave me some of my best friends and great networking opportunities, but branching out and learning from others in different programs is really refreshing. While making connections in the PR world is extremely important, I deeply value the connections that I have with my coworkers, and I know that if I needed a favor in the future, they would be there to help. In the workplace, we may not be surrounded with strategic communication people who have the same background as us, and working with people from all different majors helped me to be more open to different ideas and perspectives. We’re all full-time students trying to help run a full-time business, and I learned so much from everyone there in this process.
Honestly, when I graduate, I will probably not work at an ice rink. But, that doesn’t mean that I would go back in time and not apply for my job. For anyone out there who has the opportunity to continue doing something they love in college, even if it doesn’t directly correlate with their major, do it. While I learn a lot about professional skills in class, my job lets me use them in real situations, and I get to have fun while doing it. So thank you to my job and everyone I work with—you have prepared me for my future in more ways than you know.
Sarah Kelly is a junior strategic communication and marketing double major. Follow her on Twitter @s_kelly14!