By Kristin Gramza '15
Otterbein PRSSA Graduate
1. Explaining PR to people is almost as hard as the job itself.
“So what actually is public relations?” This is the number one question my family and friends asked when I first declared my major. In class, we are taught that the definition is to build and maintain the image and reputation of a client, but it is truly so much more. You just can’t fit in all of the aspects of PR, such as event planning, strategic campaign planning, social media and media relations, into one, short explanation.
2. To be successful in PR, you must be a lifelong learner.
When you are doing publicity for something, you will have to learn all about it. Every day, I am blown away by the new things I learn. Through my internships, I’ve become an expert on topics I never would have expected like glassware, utilities and Type 1 Diabetes. If you immerse yourself in your topics, you will be fantastic at trivia, but you also will be better at your job.
3. Your communication skills apply to all aspects of life.
Across the board, communication skills are some of the most important skills you can develop. Your communication skills can get your point across or help you out of tricky situations, but more importantly, they help you build and strengthen relationships.
4. It is okay to fail.
This may have been the hardest lesson for me to learn. On my very first assignment for college, I didn’t just fail- I got a zero. The assignment was for a newswriting class. The figurative language I used was considered a fact error, which equals an automatic zero. After crying for a bit, I picked myself up, learned from my mistake and ended up getting a good grade in the class. Failing is okay as long as you can learn from your mistake and move forward.
5. Your professors want you to succeed.
No one will work harder to ensure that you are successful than your communication professors. I’ve asked them for advice, internship favors and help with scheduling and they were all willing to do whatever they could to help. Be sure to take the initiative to connect with your professors, they are great resources and people.
6. Things will never go according to plan.
Plan for things not to go according to plan. I’ve witnessed a scoreboard catch on fire and had a news interview get rescheduled due to someone streaking through a field, and I’m only graduating. I have no idea what is in store for the rest of my career.
7. Nothing can top hands-on experience.
I’ve learned a lot in the classroom, but nothing can prepare you for a job in PR better than real experience. Maneuvering through real challenges during internship and practicum experiences are what prepared me the most to begin my career.
8. Network. Network. Network.
Take every opportunity you can to network. Not only will you meet some amazing people, but you never know who is looking for an intern or entry-level hire.
9. Have fun with your projects
As a PR major, you will have to do a ton of projects. I’ve had some that were so much fun and others that I dreaded. Either way, make the best of your projects. Get creative. Spice up your presentation with something out-of-the-box. You have to do it anyway, so why not produce something you’re proud of and have a good time in the process.
10. Your #PRFriends will become some of your best friends.
I have become incredibly close with some of my PR classmates. Whether you are doing a project, avoiding doing a project or grabbing coffee in between classes, PR majors are a blast and can always have a good time together. When the classes stop, the people who have touched your life and the friendships you’ve made are what you will remember and carry with you.