By: Brian Hammel
When you think of a mentor, you probably imagine someone established in their career, with a keen sense of the PR landscape and a respectable list of connections. This past year, thanks to PRSSA, I’ve developed a different kind of mentor/mentee relationship—one with my peer and fellow Regional Ambassador, Lenie. We became fast friends after meeting in Boston for National Conference. From there, our friendship blossomed into one with a professional angle.
A judgement-free zone
If I had a dollar for every question I’ve sent Lenie with the preface of “Don’t judge me for this but…” in front of it, I’d most likely be able to match an entry-level salary. Peer mentoring allows you the freedom of asking questions that you may be too nervous to ask a professional mentor.
A second set of eyes
They say that if you have 20 different people look over your resume or cover letter, you’ll get 20 different responses. A peer mentoring relationship offers another set of eyes to look over wording, personal branding and overall cohesiveness of your application materials. Another set of eyes on your materials can never hurt.
“Just do it”
There are times when we dream about connecting with a certain professional and absorbing their wisdom. Whether you reach out via LinkedIn or a cold email, networking can be intimidating. I always love when I can text Lenie my concern and, in minutes, she responds with a pep talk akin to Olivia Pope. Sometimes, all you need is a little push and a cheerleader to get you over your fear.
Student today, colleague tomorrow
One of the most valuable benefits of PRSSA is the network you create while in college. PRSSA has introduced me to some truly inspirational peers—they work hard, they have giving hearts and they know how to have fun. One of the greatest gifts PRSSA has given me is meeting the best and brightest up-and-coming professionals in the industry. The best part? One day, I get to call them my colleagues.
I will forever be grateful for Lenie’s friendship, both personally and professionally. Through the hour-long Skype calls, the frantic texts and the reassuring emails, Lenie has shown me what it means to be a leader and a true professional. I am so thankful for PRSSA for bringing me a person I would never have met otherwise but now, can’t imagine my life without.
By: Lauren Heberling
As college students, we should consistently be looking for opportunities to get involved and further our education. That’s why we chose higher education, after all. PRSSA is a beneficial organization because, as a member, you have the insider’s scoop on internships and job openings, access to tours of agencies and firms and a killer experience on your resume that is the first thing employers look for.
During my time in Otterbein’s PRSSA chapter, I have attended multiple professional mixers, visited various agencies and companies around Columbus and have held an executive position for the past two years. I have also attended PR conferences and am currently on a planning committee for the 2018 conference for all PRSSA chapters in Ohio. These experiences would not have happened if it weren’t for my involvement in the chapter.
PRSSA offers an abundance of opportunities for it’s members to try new things and experiment in what interests each one of us. We only need to be willing to work and learn in order to get a full college experience as PRSSA members.
Although PRSSA is geared toward the communication field, there is no doubt in my mind that students from other majors wouldn’t benefit from the professional growth and experience the monthly meetings provide us. Need help with a resume? PRSSA can help. Need to know what and what not to do at an interview? PRSSA can help. Want to know how to improve your social media profiles for future employers? PRSSA can help. Want to hear from and network with professionals? PRSSA can help.
As I am finishing my third year as a PRSSA member, I am reminded of everything this chapter has provided me with. I have a new sense of professional confidence, numerous experiences under my belt and an entire year of new opportunities and experiences to look forward to.
By: Josh Plichta
For the greater good, for profit or for a person, it doesn't matter, everyone needs their story told. To me, that's what public relations is—storytelling.
Coming to Otterbein as a first-year, I knew I excelled at telling stories: exaggerated fish stories, complex family stories or simple, "how was your day" stories. I enjoyed the dynamics that made a good story and wanted my major to reflect accordingly. As I searched for ways to tell stories, I researched various majors: English literature, broadcasting, journalism and film studies. While these majors allowed me to tell my stories, I wanted something different—a unique way to tell other's stories.
Other people's stories are much more exciting, interesting and different than mine, and that intrigued me. Instead of rambling about me, myself and I, I wanted to learn the stories of others and the best ways to tell them.
When I learned stories could be told through traditional newspapers, television spots, news conferences, 280 characters (still getting used to that) and so many other ways, I knew PR was the major for me. The ever-changing story sculpting made me excited for the major to come.
Now, after four years of learning how to tell different types of stories, there is still so much to learn. Like any profession or passion, lifelong learning is essential. Storytelling will continue to change and evolve. We don't know where the future will take us. There may be new media for us to tell a story or a new generation that prefers one medium over another, but there will always be stories to tell. With a never-ending supply of stories, I look forward to the years of creative, unique, interesting and one-of-a-kind stories I will tell.