My Journey as a Young PR Professional
April 22, 2013
— College, Freshman, Ohio University, OU, PR, PRSA, PRSSA, Strategic Communications, young professional
I came to Ohio University with my heart set on news writing and print journalism. As a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshman, I bounced out of bed every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7:15 a.m. sharp, convinced that Journalism 101 was the gateway to the rest of my life as a hard-hitting, caffeine-addicted reporter for the New York Times.
Every day I practically skipped to the Little Professor Bookstore to pick up my newspaper. Strutting around campus, The New York Times tucked neatly under my arm, I was the epitome of sophistication. Watch out, world! Here comes Briagenn Adams.
Reality set in Winter Quarter. Maybe it was the continuous cold weather, maybe it was Christmas cheer wearing off. For whatever reason, news writing journalism was no longer for me. After constantly listening to my friends and family members refer to print journalism as a dying industry, I began to get nervous about my future success. I gloomily realized that I couldn’t live the rest of my career with this impassioned attitude, and something needed to be done
At the end of Spring Quarter, I met with my advisor. Together, we decided to make the big switch from News & Information to Strategic Communications. At the time, I felt as though a part of my soul had withered away and died – I would never become a world-famous reporter! I would never see my freakishly Irish name by-lined in bold font! My life was over.
Incidentally, however, it had only just begun.
At the beginning of my sophomore year, I made the decision to throw myself into PRSSA and ImPRessions at Ohio University. I dutifully attended Monday meetings in Scripps 111, and became an Account Associate for the ImPRessions Internal Account. Little by little, I found my niche within these student organizations, and began to feel more comfortable with my profession. However, something still felt a little bit off.
I’ll be the first to admit it – I’m not a Social Media Queen. I’m not always up-to-date on the latest Internet trends, and I definitely don’t have fifteen plus internships under my belt. Basically, I felt overwhelmed and inadequate. For the second time, I questioned my choice of major.
Instead of retreating with my tail between my legs, I decided to confront the problem head on. Didn’t have an internship? I made one for myself. Three weeks before OU went on Winter break, I called the Admissions Director of my Catholic high school and asked if I could help with PR and recruitment throughout December. Next thing I knew, I was editing an alumni magazine, managing the school’s Twitter account, and conducting honor’s program interviews. ET VOILA! Empty resume no longer!
With refreshed vigor, I attacked Spring Semester. I got an internship as a reporter for OU’s Communication and Marketing Department. Writing for COMPASS has basically been the Reece’s Cup of jobs, but instead of chocolate and peanut butter, it is PR and reporting merged as one delicious combination. COMPASS has taught me that I really can have the best of both worlds, as long as I am willing to bid goodbye to my sanity on approach to deadline.
I guess what I am trying to say – via an extremely circuitous route – is that Public Relations is what you make it. Not every PR professional is glued to their Twitter feed 24/7. Likewise, not every PR professional experiences pleasure in finally finding the perfect word to complete a sentence. We are versatile people, catering to an even more varied profession. I can think of but one thing that unifies us all: when we want something, we go get it. PR can be a cutthroat industry as times, competitive and self-promotional. However, the Scripps School of Journalism has taught us well, and I am confident that each and every one of my fellow PRSSA and ImPRessions members will go on to do big things.
So, whatever your passion, be it writing, Tweeting, blogging, or painting, use it. Don’t forget about the dream that kept you up at night as an 18-year-old college freshman. That dream is what makes you special, and that dream is what will make you stand out to an employer. You don’t have to be kind of good at everything – be excellent at what you love to do, and trust that the rest will follow.