Four Years, Four Tips: Advice From a Senior in Denial

How is it even possible that I’m less than two weeks away from my last fall semester at Ohio University?!

Like everyone else, I’ve definitely had my ups and downs over these last three years. I went from just “liking” college to considering Athens my home. I began as an often anxious, homesick freshman into an overly confident, self-proclaimed “hot commodity” senior.

923446_4794050935240_452424382_nAlthough I’m in denial of approaching the ‘g-bomb’ and wish there wasn’t a life beyond Court Street, I can confidently say no other university would have given me a better college experience. OU and the J-School have given me the knowledge, resources and skills I will need to face life outside the Athens bricks.

Though I’m far from knowing everything, these four tips have been some of the biggest take-a-ways I’ve gain throughout my college journey.

1. Don’t over think it – I entered the James Hall freshman communications learning community with the plan of getting my byline printed on the pages of a traditional newspaper one day. Fast-forward three short years later – I’m headed in a completely different direction, aspiring to be PRofessional in a big metropolitan city. Believe me, your 18 year-old self won’t have any idea what you want to do for the rest of your life. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. Get your feet wet in a bunch of different organizations. Enroll in classes that pique your interest, even if they don’t fulfill your major’s requirements. Stop giving yourself a headache! I still don’t know where I’ll end up. But I allow my passion for the field and the ambiguity of a PR career to lead me on my journey.

2. Don’t be ‘red’; be ‘Razzmatazz’– Our resumes apparently get 30 seconds, if that, of a potential employer’s attention. Think of yourself as being one small crayon in a huge box of diverse, colorful crayon box – how will you stand out in a Crayola Rainbow? Follow Farkas’s advice by coming up with your three talking points that will give you the tools to showcase what’s unique and only unique to you to give you the added confidence to walk into your next interview.

3. Channel your inner YOLO and put yourself out there – This summer I made a great connection via Twitter. While attending a non-profit forum for my internship on the power of storytelling, being the Twitter-obsessed PR girl I am, I live tweeted ideas and quotes that the speaker – an up-and-coming local advertising guy – said throughout the event. My tweets got his attention, because they eventually led to several conversations through email, even weeks after his presentation. I was shocked to get such a positive response. (Was it time to call Nev Schulman? Had I been “Catfished?!”) I learned that he too wanted to meet with me because I had impressed him; he appreciated my perseverance and enthusiasm of wanting to learn from him. I never imagine 140 characters would lead me to networking over coffee. Moral of the story – speak up; take risks; get out of your comfort zone. Who cares – YOLO.

4. Work hard, play hard(er) – I often joke to my friends that Alden is my boyfriend because of all the long hours I’ve spent over the years studying within the stacks. Between my rigorous course load, involvement in too many organizations, meetings on meetings on meetings I run to each evening and working to help pay for rent, books and groceries, I like to reward myself by enjoying Athens’s nightlife with my friends. Be dedicated and put your schoolwork first, but make sure you’re having a great time doing it. I have loved being so involved because it has not only helped build my resume, but more importantly, it has also allowed me to meet so many great friends. It’s important and healthy to participate in a balance of work and play.  You owe it to yourself to celebrate making it through the grind of a hectic college schedule – OU Oh Yeah!

Though it’s definitely bitter sweet, I’m so excited to embrace my last year at Ohio University. I’ve even decided to start a yearlong blog on all my “bucket list experiences!” There really is no place like OU and Athens – once a Bobcat always a Bobcat!

-Sara Lowenstein is a senior studying public relations with specializations in sociology and community health. Check her out at @SaraLowenstein.

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