A few words of wisdom for the incoming class of 2012

Each Tuesday at 7 pm I find myself dressed in business casual sitting with 20-25 other PR students discussing our clients and ways to improve our relationships. Each time our student run firm meets I’m so thankful I decided to apply and have had this opportunity to work with local non-profits and experience a small firm with account teams.

Freshman through junior year I always heard about the firm, but never thought I was ready or qualified at all. Little did I know I just needed an interest in PR and I would learn most of it along the way. There are many things I’m slowly learning I wish I knew when I first came to school. I wish there was a future version of me sitting on my shoulder directing me where to go and what to do. So here are a few tips for the incoming class of 2012 who are interested in public relations.

         Take non-J classes. By taking courses that have to do with topics related to Journalism but are not in the school of Journalism or Communication will expand your knowledge of Journalism from the viewpoint of other careers.

         Get involved in organizations. PRSSA is a great example. Your college campus should have its own chapter, but there are other ways to get involved such as in clubs and student government. These organizations always need help when it comes to public relations.

         Apply for student-run firm. If your university has one, apply. And apply your sophomore year. The student-run firm always intimidated me, because I didn’t feel I knew enough. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t taken any PR courses you will learn through the experience of being a part of the firm.

         Get an internship during summer vacation. The more experience you have the more you will learn. Learning the ropes of a firm will set you ahead of the rest of crowd.

         Start experiencing with social media. There are many forms of social media out there (beyond Facebook). Try blogging, podcasting, twitter or ooVoo. These are tools PR pros are using on a daily basis. By reading blogs and listening to podcasts will help you to understand how to use these tools once you are our in the real world.

         Begin interacting with PR Pros. This can happen through experiencing social media. PR pros are out there to help you succeed. Use them as a tool and as a networking connection.

These are six tips I’ve found useful during my senior year. I wish someone had told me these things freshman year because they would have helped me be ahead of the game come senior year. So I hope these tips help!


~ by stacianne on March 7, 2008.

2 Responses to “A few words of wisdom for the incoming class of 2012”

  1. Staci,
    Great tips and a very good post idea =) I would add this to the list:

    More than meet your professors.
    Start interacting with your concentration’s professors within the first few months of declaring your major, if not before. Relationships take time to develop, and, as busy as both you the student and he or she the professor are, it can take months and even a few years for them to know you as more than a student—your personality, career aspirations, and life goals. This knowledge will help them write the best letters of recommendation for you when needed, whether those letters are directed toward a graduate school or potential employer.

    I wish someone had told me this four years ago and I would have worked from the start to establish meaningful relationships with professors. Its easy to get lost in the mix and, the more they know about you the better your letter of recommendation will be. It may be intimidating but they actually love talking about what they teach—it’s why they probably chose the profession in the first place. Start early and make these connections!

    Again, helpful post!

    Lisa Poplawski

  2. Thank you for the reinforcement Lisa! I do agree making relationships with your concentration professors is KEY! Throughout college I’ve always needed a professor’s commendations for internships, awards, and scholarships. Many of your courses freshman and sophomore year are going to be 50-120 students per class and its hard to begin a relationship with those professors. Our current instructor just posted about asking professors about how to go about requesting letters of recommendations check it out: http://prosintraining.blogspot.com/2008/03/make-it-east-to-give-you-good-reference.html

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