Finding Your PR Bliss

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 10.08.25 PMTake a look around you… do you notice that public relations surrounds you? It’s the logo on your shirt, the signs on the subway you ride, the shampoo that you use, the news that you read, the cereal you have eaten since you were five… and the list goes on. PR is everywhere, everything we know and see is communicating in some way.

The fact that PR is everywhere is great! It means that as public relations professionals we can work in any industry or with clients that specialize in things we have a passion for, whether it’s food, travel, construction, politics, interior design, fashion… shall I continue?

But how do we find what makes us happy in the workplace? How can we find our “PR bliss” before the real world full of bills and nine-to-fives hits? The answer is simple: we must explore. We must explore our options, our likes, our dislikes, the known and unknown. College students are granted four whole years to explore student organizations, internships, classes and friendships to realize what makes us unhappy and to pinpoint what we enjoy.

The more opportunities that you take advantage of, the closer you will get to discovering your PR bliss. Go forth, and explore:

Engage in conversation. Get out there and network. Absorb your verbal encounters that can lead to new information, a new point of view on things or a future opportunity.

X-out all your dislikes. For example, if you aren’t a fan of Twitter, then you know social media isn’t for you. By deciphering your dislikes you can x-out all the paths that won’t lead you to bliss.

Portray yourself. Be who you want to be. Be proud of the person you are and own your characteristics. Being yourself will help narrow down your path to bliss, and will internally distinguish what you want out of your life.

List your hobbies and interests. Do you like sports? Most pro athletes or teams have PR staff. Do you like technology? I’m pretty sure Apple’s brand didn’t invent itself. Are you a film buff? I don’t think red carpet premiere events plan themselves. Your list of likes will lay out potential career paths that will make you happy.

Opportunities; take advantage of them all. You never know, maybe singing at karaoke night will reveal a love for music. Or taking a corporate internship will prove you’re meant for something along the lines of a non-profit. Every experience will help guide you in the right direction of your PR bliss.

Read. The more you read, the more you know. Whether you read news, gossip magazines, novels or online blogs, literature will introduce you to things outside of your local bubble and will help you explore the unknown.

Expect the unexpected and don’t be afraid of change. You’re going to make mistakes, curve balls will be thrown at you, and how you deal with the unexpected will define what you are cut out for in the PR world.

With PR, the opportunities are endless and finding your PR bliss is a journey, but when you explore all your options and interests your path will become clearer and clearer, and you’ll eventually arrive at your destination of bliss. 

-Marisa Dockum is a junior communications studies major with a global leadership certificate. Follow her at @MarisaDockum.


Adjusting to the Windy City

ChicagoI have always pictured my life out of college in a big city with a modern apartment and glamorous job. After work I could grab dinner with my fellow colleagues at a swanky restaurant and on the weekends I would have endless streets to explore and shop. Chicago has always been my city of choice. When I decided to start looking for internships for this summer, Chicago was my first option. Luckily, and to my surprise, I was able to get connected with a non-profit organization and land a social media internship.

Once the excitement of my new summer plans faded, the reality of living in a new city began to sink in. How would I know where to go? How would I get around? What would I do in my spare time? I grew up in a suburb of Detroit that was about 15 minutes from Ann Arbor and was not used to having to walk places, let alone use public transportation. As my moving date to the city grew closer, I became more anxious and nervous about how I would adjust to living in a new city alone.

I made arrangements to live with my grandparents, who live in a suburb about 20 minutes from downtown Chicago when there isn’t any traffic. However, driving in and out of the city during rush hour could potentially take hours, so I decided public transportation would be the best option. My sister has lived in the city for the past seven years and made me a schedule of trains I could take and a map from the station to my building. After practicing the route before my first day and eventually commuting multiple times by train, I am more confident in getting around the area where I work.

I have now officially completed a full week of my internship and am still learning my way around downtown Chicago. I now know the difference between the Metra and CTA, I can hail my own cab and have mastered speed walking.

Getting adjusted to a new city can be intimidating at first, especially when moving from a suburb to a big city. Here are a few tips that can help when getting adjusted into a new city.

Plan ahead. This can apply to everything, whether it is practicing your transportation paths days before you start or even just getting to train or bus stops before they are scheduled to arrive.

Explore. Spend time just walking up and down new streets and going into stores or restaurants. The more familiar you are with an area the more comfortable and at home you will feel. This also helps to meet new people and learn of new places to go.

Social media. As PR stars we are used to depending on social media to post about what we are doing and getting responses, but in this case follow Twitter accounts where you’ll learn about events going on in the city. It’s easy to do the “touristy” things, but to really embrace the city culture, find out what people who live in the city are doing.

-Allison Rumsas is a junior strategic communications major with a Spanish minor. Follow her adventures through the Windy City at @allisonrumsas.