Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Transitioning Back to College After a Dream Internship

November 1, 2013 9 Comments

Trump_GortIt felt like I was Cinderella in my own personal fairytale.

I would work at glamorous photo shoots and casually meet celebrity icons. Attending red carpet events were regularly jotted down in my planner. Being chauffeured around New York City with Miss Universe was as normal as drinking a cup of coffee.

Who was I and how did I get to this magical place?

It all started from applying to the Miss Universe Organization, where I worked as a PR intern in NYC for five months. Hands down, the most rewarding opportunity of my life. Working with this prestigious company gave me the best real world PR experience I could’ve ever imagined. I never thought I’d be one to fall in love with a job, but being a part of the 2013 Miss USA competition’s entire production truly helped me discover my passion for becoming a PR professional, specifically in the entertainment industry.

Adjusting back to the college life after interning with MUO, however, was not the easiest transition. There was some inevitable sadness and culture shock after leaving the big city lifestyle. Not to mention, I was anxious to get a real world job instead of being a college student more than ever. Regardless of how ready I was, it didn’t change the fact that I still had to finish my last three semesters at OU.

So for all you bobcats that have taken a semester off or are considering it to complete an internship, here are three tips for moving forward from your dream internship while still being stuck as a college student.

1. Make your planner your best friend. The great thing about taking a semester off to intern is only needing to focus on giving 110% to your job. So probably the cruelest joke of all after getting a taste of the real world is going back to the college grind of taking classes, studying for exams and balancing a social life on top of club work while trying not to have a nervous breakdown. YIKES.

Instead of panicking, I learned that making a to-do list every day is actually a huge stress reliever, especially when you get to cross something off! It might seem simple, but keeping a weekly agenda will keep you organized, which automatically makes you a saner person. The key to balance for any college student is time management!

2. Throw yourself into what you love.  As much as I want to move out to LA and begin my PR career, I sadly know I can’t until I finish school. Being able to hone and sharpen my skills and knowledge with the industry now is extremely beneficial for me as a young professional.

Staying involved with ImPRessions and PRSSA allows me to do real professional work to constantly keep improving my journalism toolbox. For that I’m thankful because I can still get relevant PR experience while finishing up school before I’m ready to take the West Coast plunge.

3. Keep the connections and plan for the future. One of the most rewarding things about working at MUO was the people I met. Every one of my colleagues in the office had something to offer as a role model and mentor. I made strong connections with the people I worked with and my advice to everyone is be sure to keep the connections you make at your internships! It could be valuable for the future when seeking out potential employers or wanting to get hired full-time at your previous job. Because remember: it’s not what you know, but who you know!

My New York Moment

July 29, 2013 1 Comment

IMG_2517Last winter, I found myself at a crossroads—an extremely busy one. So busy, in fact, that if I stood still for just ten seconds longer, I may have been run over by the relentless taxicab drivers speeding every which way.

I was in New York City, wearing a wide-eyed, open-mouthed look on my face and gripping an oversized transit map as if someone might snatch it from my hands at any minute. 

On a tight schedule, I bounced around the city from one public relations agency to the next with my PRSSA peers (note: wear sneakers, not heels, when commuting via subway). This year, a small group of us took on the Big Apple for the annual networking trip to meet with public relations professionals from six different agencies.

While I soaked up all the tricks, tips and takeaways I could, one particular, but simple, piece of advice made me pause: be uncertain + be unlikely = never be bored.

That’s when I started to think.

A couple months before, I was offered a public relations internship with the Miss Universe Organization in New York City during Fall Semester 2013.  Although I had my eye on this specific opportunity since freshmen year, I was hesitant to accept the offer.

I knew the internship would be more than valuable and worthwhile, but I didn’t have answers to the questions shooting through my mind. Where would I live and how could I afford it? How would I navigate my way around a city I hardly knew? What would it be like to live completely alone, nine hours away from family and friends? And, the most difficult of all, was I willing to give up part of my final year at Ohio University, in a town I had grown to love with the people I cared for most?

I was certainly uncertain, but maybe that was the beauty of it all. Instead of embracing the obvious, why not take the road less traveled?

By placing myself in uncomfortable, unfamiliar situations, I’ll make mistakes and grow from them, figure out how to adjust and then improve, explore new ideas, places and people and learn from my experiences.

Spending the semester in New York City and traveling to Moscow, Russia for the Miss Universe Pageant is far from what I imagined I’d be doing my senior year, but it’s an opportunity I might not ever have again.

Unlikely? Check.

Although I don’t suggest having an epiphany in the middle of the street, at that moment, I realized it was time to stop questioning and to start packing.

Just four weeks away from starting my new internship, I couldn’t be more excited to dive in and find out what’s ahead.

As for the last part of the equation, I have no doubt the flying cabs will always keep me on my toes.

-Katie Grady is a senior studying strategic communications with specializations in business and political science. Follow her adventures in NYC at @kaitgrady.

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