Why I Chose to Study Public Relations
I didn’t–at first. But I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be now.
I always knew I wanted to work in a business setting, whatever that may be. I watched my mom leave the house with her heels on and her work phone ringing off the hook, and I wanted to be just like her. I applied to the University of Rhode Island as a general business major, and when I received my acceptance letter, I was ecstatic. I went to the open house in the spring of 2016, and after two hours, I changed my major to Communications. Great start!
The changing of majors didn’t stop there for me, though. In the time between my first and third year in college, I added and dropped majors and minors three times. Multiple advising appointments and the feeling like I had made the wrong decision was stressful, to say the least.
But I’m happy all this happened. Why? Because it made me realize what I’m good at and what I enjoy learning and doing. Here are three reasons why I chose to study PR!
The Characteristics of a PR Professional
One of the first things I did when I was trying to find my ‘perfect major’ was identify my top characteristics and strengths. I knew I had great time management skills. As a competitive dancer growing up, my busy schedule consisted of mainly school and dance. I was always able to get things done no matter how long my to do list was, because I planned accordingly. Furthermore, I knew I was a great strategic thinker. I’m a big-picture thinker, and I will weigh out the pros and cons of every situation and action. Lastly, I love to communicate. It never made me nervous to meet new people, make new connections, or even speak in public. I considered meeting new people and creating relationships with those people as sort of a hobby of mine. Taking a step back and realizing what I was good at was a huge factor that led me to public relations. A PR practitioner embodies all these characteristics plus more, making it possible for them to succeed in what they do.
The ‘Everyday’ Life of a PR Professional
Public relations is multiple different jobs tied up in one title. We are writing press releases, pitching ideas, adding contacts to media lists, taking calls, strategically thinking, and always researching. Not to mention the art of managing ten different tabs up on the computer for the whole workday. Unlike most, I love a jam-packed workday that is never the same. I find it exciting to know that something can come up at any given moment that will need my immediate attention. Another part of the job that caught my attention was having to keep up with current news and trends and use that information to promote clients. I’m a social media lover! Social media has evolved into something so much bigger now, and it’s fascinating that nearly every person, company, organization, etc. has an account with at least one or more platforms. Being able to navigate the media and stay connected with what is happening in the world around us is a huge part of the everyday work as a PR professional.
Endless Growth and Learning
During my time as a student, I’ve realized that experience and knowledge are the most valuable things to carry with you through life. Even the most reputable PR professional started as a novice once. The knowledge that person gained from their experiences has brought them to where they are today. I will constantly be learning new approaches and techniques as time goes on. As confident as I am in my communication skills, I know ten years from now I will be ten times better. Also, I’m sure traditional public relations practices will evolve, too. That’s the beauty of public relations! Right now, I am fascinated to see what my co-workers do every day. With an open mind and a passion for learning, I know I’ll get there.
Although it took me some time at first, I have truly found what I am looking forward to doing in the future. Public relations fit like a glass slipper for me! I am grateful to be interning with Caster Communications during my first semester of senior year. I have had the most knowledgeable professors during my time at URI that have taught me everything and more about public relations, but nothing can compare to the experience gained from an internship. I plan to get the most out of this experience by watching my superiors, learning from my mistakes, and asking all the questions I need to. I’m one step closer to my future career, and I’ve never been happier.
Follow along with my journey as I go! Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter @SSchallerPR.