Four years really flew by quickly. With only two months left in my college career, I really cannot believe how quickly my time as a Bobcat, Scripps student and PRSSA member has flown. As hard as it is for me to admit that I’m graduating this May, I’ve enjoyed having the time to reflect on the past four years and how they’ve shaped me as a professional, student and person.
Like many others at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, I came to college my freshman year thinking that I wanted to be a broadcast journalist. I quickly learned that this career wasn’t for me, as I wanted the opportunity to really flex my creative muscles and work closely with other innovative thinkers. I got my first taste of what public relations was at my first PRSSA meeting during my sophomore year. I never really understood exactly what PR was, but after hearing from professionals who loved and talked openly about their careers, I knew that this was the career for me. Fast forward to my senior year, where I now serve as the Execute Vice President of the organization.
Being involved in PRSSA has undoubtedly taught me many lessons, far beyond helping me determine what I wanted to do with my life. As I prepare to graduate, I’d like to share the five key things I’ve learned through my involvement with Scripps PRSSA.
- Connections are crucial.
While I knew that networking was important, I never fully understood the importance of forming strong connections with professionals, especially in college. Meeting professionals in the organization not only helped me form connections in the industry, but made me feel more confident when applying for internships and interviewing. We are so fortunate that we have the chance to meet one-on-one with professionals. Any new members should take this seriously and give their name and email to any professional that they’re interested in talking to further or learning more about an industry. And I will say, a connection that I met through PRSSA led me to an internship that turned into a full-time job upon graduation. I can’t speak highly enough of the connections I’ve formed during my time in the organization.
2. Getting involved is key to your success in college.
You’ll hear this like a broken record, but it is so true – you must get involved in an activity you’re passionate about during your four years in college. Whether this be attending weekly PRSSA meetings, freelance writing for the school newspaper or even joining the Bowling Appreciation Club, getting involved is crucial to your success in college. Not only is it great to put on a resume that you were involved in clubs and organizations, but you’ll make lasting friendships, form professional connections and feel more tied to the university. In PRSSA, I learned professional skills and gained real-world experience that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my career.
3. Having PRSSA on a resume looks great.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into an interview and been asked to explain my involvement with PRSSA. Because the PRSSA and PRSA networks are so large, it’s impressive to employers to see that you’re getting involved early. If attending meetings is your thing, that’s great. But try to utilize the larger networks that PRSSA offers, including mentor programs, committees and case studies.
4. PRSSA friendships are special.
If you’re looking for an ambitious, kind and passionate group of friends, look no further than PRSSA. I have been so fortunate to have formed so many positive relationships during my four years in the organization. Whether I need someone to look at my resume, talk about a class or even just chat about life, I always know that I can go to my Scripps PRSSA friends and feel comforted. Not only that, but the PRSSA national network is incredible. Just a few weeks ago, I ran into the PRSSA National President at the airport and we talked as though we had just seen each other the day prior. Hold on to your PRSSA friendships because they will carry you far.
5. My college experience wouldn’t have been as positive if I weren’t involved.
With graduation right around the corner, I can now reflect and say that my college experience wouldn’t have been the same had I not been involved with Scripps PRSSA. Not only did I learn professional skills that I will carry with me throughout my career, but I also found the place on campus where I belonged. I owe much of my success at Ohio University to Scripps PRSSA and am incredibly thankful for everything I’ve learned.
Bottom line – find your group on campus, get involved and make the most of your four years. They fly by faster than you can blink an eye.
Erin McMahon is our Executive Vice President and a senior strategic communication major. Even though she is graduating soon, you can keep up with her on Twitter @emcmahon1.