Senior Farewell: Natalie Butko – My Lighthouse

During the first week of my freshman year, my learning community leader told me I had to drop my Monday night art class because it conflicted with PRSSA meetings. Trusting someone I had just met that week, I figured out how to drop that class so I could attend PRSSA meetings on Mondays.

Looking back four years later, dropping that class may have been one of the best decisions I ever made. Scripps PRSSA was constantly my lighthouse – guiding me when I didn’t know what direction I needed to go. I never thought I’d travel to Indianapolis, Charlotte, or Cleveland. I never thought I’d be elected to a leadership role. I never thought I’d be paired with a mentor who I owe much of my college experience to. I never thought I’d meet my best friends.

I owe so much to this student organization and the people in it. With graduation nearing, I constantly think how different my college experience and post-grad plans might have been if I kept that art class in my schedule instead of going to my first Scripps PRSSA meeting.

That leads me to my first piece of advice: take advantage of everything. Scripps PRSSA offers so many opportunities to develop professionally, network, meet friends, and learn about various industries. Take advantage of as much as you can. You may be surprised where your lighthouse will lead you.

The other piece of advice I live by is to apply to as much as possible. The amount of times I’ve failed, not gotten something, been denied, etc. is far greater than any success I’ve had. I always think to myself that the more things I apply to the more chances of success I may have. Of course, more failures are almost a guarantee. With each failure I’ve gained new knowledge, experiences, gotten my name out there, made connections, and even learned how to improve myself. If you don’t apply you, you are eliminating yourself. Simply applying to something can open doors and lead you in the right direction of your lighthouse.

Finally, remember to breath. It’s important to stay focused on the lighthouse, but it’s OK to go off course. Save time to have fun and enjoy Athens. Remember that while you may compete with your friends for every internship, scholarship and executive board position, that the friendships will mean more to you at the end of four years. I owe Scripps PRSSA for so much of my professional development and foundation of the industry I’m entering, but I’m most thankful for the memories and friends I’m leaving with.

Thank you Scripps PRSSA for four years of unforgettable meetings, people, networking trips, conferences, speakers, socials, and of course memories. Thank you for being my lighthouse and guiding me through four of the best years of my life.

Natalie Butko is a graduating senior journalism – strategic communication major and former VP of Visual Communications for Scripps PRSSA in 2017-2018. You can follow her post-grad journey on Twitter @chatty_natty

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