Senior Farewell: Emily O’Flynn – “How lucky I am…”

It’s August 2014. I find myself on a college tour of none other than Ohio University. This is my third trip to the university and although I haven’t been accepted into the school yet, I am confident that I want to pursue a strategic communication major in the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism. On my tour, I am told all the qualifications to get into the school of my dreams and realize quickly that my ACT score does not quite reach what they are looking for. After the tour, I distinctly recall quietly sobbing into my Jackie O’s fish and chips, while my parents reassured me everything was going to be okay.

Getting my ACT score up was my first real professional goal. What I didn’t realize was that throughout my college career, I would be faced with many more professional goals and I would have to find a way to overcome them as well.

With support from my family (and some tutoring help), I took the ACT four more times to get my score where I wanted it to be to submit my college application. With a ton of hard work, I was able to finally call myself a Scripps Kid.

Roughly five years later, it’s April 2019. I am a month away from graduating from my dream school. Although senior year has been a bittersweet journey, it has given me some time to reflect.

I reflect upon my accomplishments in college, but more importantly, the people who got me to where I want to be. During my freshman year of college, I was surrounded by a plethora of organizations I was interested in, but Scripps PRSSA always stood out in my mind. This was an organization that had equally driven people who really cared about making a difference in their futures through professional development. Kelsey Miller was a senior when I was a freshman and I remember sitting in my first Monday speaker meeting all by myself, when she came over to me and started chatting about how my day was going. That initiative was so genuine and so much different than other organization meetings where no one went out of their way to make me feel welcome. I remember finding out that my cool Learning Community Leader Mira Kuhar was in the executive board, so I found myself more interested in what PRSSA had to offer. I was quickly swept up by Sam Miller and Jess Carnprobst, who encouraged me to go to the 2015 PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta, GA. Little did I know that I would be attending three more national conferences in my college career!

Soon, weekly Monday meetings transitioned from optional to mandatory as I was quickly collecting a friend base of people who also wanted to better themselves.  Just learning about internships progressed into obtaining them. Being told about company culture shifted into attending five networking trips (and planning one of them)! Serving as just a dues-paying member evolved into leadership positions on the executive board. Just saying “hi” to people at Monday meetings turned into library dates, dance marathons, bowling at RollerBowl, lip-syncing battles, liquor pitchers, swimming at Stroud’s Run, road trips, service projects, Wal-Mart runs, scary movies, slice nights at Courtside, driving in a level-2 snow storm to see comedian John Mulaney and a spring break trip to Hong Kong.

Winnie the Pooh once said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” For such a silly old bear, his words are packed with wisdom. Luckily for me, Scripps PRSSA gave me everything I was looking for in college. It gave me access to professional opportunities and an immediate support group of friends to encourage me to reach my full potential. Deciding to invest my time in this organization has been the best decision of my college career.

Today, I sit in Jackie O’s with tears, but this time, it’s for a different reason. These are tears of happiness and excitement. I’m excited to see what’s in store for future generations of Scripps PRSSA members. I’m excited to see where my friends (and myself) end up. Moreover, I’m excited to see obstacles we face and how we overcome them, because that’s what Scripps Kids do.

Emily O’Flynn is a graduating journalism-strategic communication major. She is also the outgoing 2018-2019 Vice President of External Relations of Scripps PRSSA. Follow her post-grad adventures on Twitter @OFlynn_Emily

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