By Kylie Whittaker Associate, Athens County Humane Society
Rustling through my things in my cramped dorm room, the nerves began to set in. I had already attended the larger ImPRessions meeting during which we were introduced to the many accounts. Luckily I was placed into my first choice, the Athens County Humane Society. Now, I was on my way to the first meeting with my fellow Humane Society account members, not at all knowing what to expect.
I was the fourth or fifth person to enter the room. I was apprehensive, nervous, excited and unsure if I was ready to embark on this task I had brought upon myself. It was the beginning of my first quarter at Ohio University and my first experience with a student organization. Needless to say, it was new ground.
By the time the meeting began there were about twelve students sitting around a square table. We introduced ourselves, shared some personal history, and then tossed around some ideas of how we could most effectively execute our tasks throughout the quarter. As the meeting took shape, my nerves eased and excitement took over. We were all here, working together for one of the best student-run public relations firms in the country, and it was going to be a great experience.
Throughout fall quarter, my account helped plan the ACHS Centennial Celebration, a Halloween event for Friendly Paws Pet Supplies and Grooming and began work on the ACHS calendar. Our weekly meetings laid out our tasks to be completed for the next meeting.
Each member was given a job title, and mine was Multimedia Director. My job was to run the ACHS YouTube account, where we plan to post “Pet profiles” of animals in need of adoption. I took pictures at both of our events and wrote blogs for the ACHS website. Account members also took turns writing press releases which was a first-time experience for most. I was getting my first taste of real-life public relations and it was only my first quarter with ImPRessions. (Check out the ACHS YouTube channel, set to be launched winter quarter 2011.)
Going to college to get an education is a funny thing. The degree is what we are after, but in the end, it is experience that gets us ahead. Plenty of experience is readily available on the Ohio University campus, waiting for anyone who has the initiative to explore it.
ImPRessions is not a class room, lecture hall and does not involve note taking. It is action, networking and real public relations work. I not only got a sense of what my career in PR could be, but I also gained an irreplaceable foundation on which I am building my public relations skill set.
One extremely valuable aspect of ImPRessions, and any student organization for that matter, is the interaction between the students involved. Within ImPRessions, I met some of my closest friends and fellow aspiring Scripps applicants. Without these people, applying to one of the best journalism schools in the nation would have been terribly intimidating.
My interaction with Journalism school students and those planning to apply brought a confidence in myself and the choices I was making. I have no doubt that joining ImPRessions was the best choice I made fall quarter of 2010, and the personal and tangible benefits are more than I could have imagined.