by Haylie Schmoll '19 As a confused freshman, I remember scrolling through Otterbein’s course catalog. After reading degree description after description, I came across public relations:
“Do you like to take on leadership roles? Enjoy planning and promoting events? Have talents that include writing, speaking, and organizing? Find that you are versatile with diverse interests and want to combine them in unique ways? The answers to these questions might lead you to major or minor in public relations at Otterbein.”
At that moment, I knew I wanted to declare PR as my major.
Talking to my new advisor, I felt confident in my decision that would allow me to leverage my skills of event planning, utilize my leadership ability and develop my writing. My advisor explained typical projects of a public relations professional including writing press releases, planning and executing large events, writing speeches, creating publications and maintaining the image and reputation of an organization.
What my advisor didn’t tell me was a public relations degree at Otterbein would prepare me for so much more. As I began classes within my major, I learned how to create and execute such projects that my advisor explained. But, the projects served for more than a grade. In fact, many of my projects were utilized in real-world settings. One of my largest projects first semester was a strategic plan utilized by our university’s library this year. Because of projects like this, I realized my work inside the classroom would improve my university and the community around me. The skills learned from projects were quickly transitioned into real-life experiences outside the walls of my university. Internships gave me opportunities to showcase my skills to benefit the organization in which was working for. I obtained media for large events from writing press releases, organized community gatherings and refined my public speaking skills. I just accepted my fifth internship for the summer at my dream organization and cannot wait to learn and do more. While I’m utilizing my skills and testing the waters in my industry, I am continuing to refine these skills through on campus involvement. Being involved on Otterbein’s PRSSA board has allowed me to develop my PR skills through creating publications and organizing events. Otterbein’s forensics team has helped refine my oral skills.
My involvement does not end within my department though. Through service organizations, I am giving by to my community through planning events and raising funds. Did I mention in my free time, I’ve attended tours of non-profits and Blue Jackets games to learn from PR professionals in the industry? I couldn’t imagine having these opportunities at any other institution.
As I explain my choice of degree to my friends and family, I note that my degree is unique compared to other degrees. My degree has allowed me to discover what truly makes me tick, find ways in which I can use my passions to make a difference in the world, and see the endless possibilities for careers after my time at Otterbein. I am confident in my choice of major and feel my degree is more than a piece of paper. Otterbein has prepared me for any career I wish to take —that is the value of an Otterbein education.