Take the Tools You’ve Learned and Use Them
Sitting in a chair, in a class, and listening to a lecture is not hard to do. Whether your professor is dreadfully dull or throwing high fives around like it’s his or her job, you are taught information that is supposed to help drive you into the future and your career. As strategic communication majors, by our fourth year we should be able to write a press release in a matter of minutes, understand the philosophies and techniques behind social media and theoretically hold a professional position in our field. Engaging and developing your mind in class is extremely important. You are taught the ins and outs of your career and how, if you apply what you learn correctly, you can be successful at your career. But what happens when you step out of the classroom knowing the tools in the toolbox, but still having never used them? Let me tell ya, nothing short of a damaged construction job, that’s for sure. Taking class is extremely crucial in your professional development, don’t get me wrong, but experiences outside of the classroom and relating to your profession are just as important, if not more.
The Opportunity in Organizations
Finding a club that is relevant to what you want to do is the first major step in flying yourself into the future. Joining a club and really trying to involve yourself improves both your networking skills and your knowledge of your field. Because I joined Scripps PRSSA I have met friends that will last me a lifetime and had opportunities that are invaluable to the development of my professional career. Don’t stop at joining a club, but once comfortable, apply to be on executive board. There is no better way to learn about leadership than to jump in with both feet and lead. Take what you have learned in your classes and implement it into your organization.
Expand Your Ingenuity with an Internship
A large step in your professional career is finding an internship that you are passionate about and can push you past the brink of your ingenuity. A good internship will both guide you and make you wonder where you are, all at the same time. You can test what you have learned in the classroom and learn how to use the tools efficiently and effectively. Class time is well worth the investment. But after all that you have invested in your education, you need to practice what you’ve learned and reap the rewards of your investment. I cannot stress enough how much people grow when they push themselves outside of the classroom. Grab your toolbox and practice using those tools to build yourself a strong foundation for success.
Sadie Newman is a junior strategic communication major and our very own Vice President of External Relations. If you ever want to chat with Sadie about professional development, reach out to her on Twitter @RealSlimmSadie.