“What made you want to do public relations?”
This is a common question that I get from from various friends, classmates, and professionals. Considering the field is so important, so versatile, so unique… it’s no wonder why people are interested in how us PR practitioner’s made it to this moment. I love this field and am continuously blown away about how this profession requires for individuals to be skilled in array of practices in creating communication and establishing relationships.
How It Began
My choice started off as me entering my freshmen year as a student at the University of South Florida, the St. Petersburg campus. When it came to registration and declaring my major, I had no idea what I wanted. I at least knew what I didn’t want. It wasn’t much, but it was a start! It was a process of elimination. I knew I didn’t want to pursue a medical degree. I didn’t want to do marine science. I didn’t want to do business. I didn’t want to do education.
On The Search!
During my sophomore year I took Concepts and Practices, an introductory course for students entering the USFSP graphic design program. I took this because I’ve always had a love for art and being creative (still do actually). The class convinced me that segmenting my career to solely on graphic design was not for me. Sure I know now that I love creating graphics of communication. But the class was rather eclectic and challenging. I did assignments such as painting patterns on a wooden board. I once had an assignment that required creating a two minute stop motion video made out of paper. Another assignment, I had to strategically place two similar colors together in a color swatch, arranged in such a way as that the two colors look the same. It was an odd class filled with time-consuming assignments that were harshly graded. I was confused, I had always been a creative person. The class left me sadly discouraged, why was I so bad at this?Little did I know a year later that I do indeed have a future involving graphic design (more on that later).
On The Road To Mass Communications
During that semester it became clear to me that the one major that I had not rejected yet was one that started to interest me. It was Mass Communications. At USF, Mass Communications is divided into three sectors: Broadcast, Journalism, and Public Relations. I never had an interest in Broadcast. After taking dabbling in Journalism in my Writing for the Mass Media course, I knew that it wasn’t the exact field I was passionate about.
The more I learned about what Public Relations is from my academic advisor, the more excited I got. The ways that PR spans across publicity, online marketing, research, web design, media kits, press releases, pitch letters, event coordination, media buying and social media maintenance was so fascinating to me. I loved that PR catered to an organization’s image, communication, and relationships. I was hooked! And so, I declared Mass Communications as my major. There was only one major problem: the Public Relations sector was not offered at USFSP. I quickly headed across the bridge and met with advising at the School of Mass Communications. I passed their English Diagnostic Test, was accepted in the SMC and officially enrolled myself at the Tampa campus.
New campus, new changes! I wanted to jumpstart on skills needed for the new field I was going to study. In May of 2013, I received an amazing opportunity of a 6 week internship for the summer with MDesign Online. MDesignMedia is a full service marketing agency that serves large corporations, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and professionals. Marie, CEO and Owner, took me under her wing by introducing me to the world of media communications. That internship was incredibly valuable in the ways that it taught me so much about online marketing, branding, web maintenance, blog writing, and social media. My tasks as an intern included taking over various maintenance for the firm’s brand as well as small projects for clients. The value of knowledge and experience gained in that first internship truly allowed me to harvest a ferocity and passion for the field. It was the perfect way to spend the summer before my Public Relations classes!
Through USF’s Public Relations Student Society of America as well as KnoBull PR, I have been taking on the world of Public Relations by storm! The past year has been crazy exciting with my communications and PR courses. It has been through these experiences in the classroom that I have learned terms of PR practices, creating campaign books, presenting PR issues, creating a PR team pitch, and writing news releases/press releases/pitch letters. My membership at the USF PRSSA has allowed me to meet so many professionals, teaching me even more about the industry. At general body meetings, members get to hear from an array of communication professionals who speak on behalf of what they do, professional advice, and overall encouragement. I have learned so much about networking, communication, the job market, and how to live out your passions. As one of the founders of KnoBull PR, USF’s first and only student-run PR firm, I have been able to dive in real hands-on work. I have created flyers, done social media start-up, and even launching websites. By being part of a firm with other amazingly talented and passionate students, I have come to grow even more in love with being a team player. This hands-on experience has allowed me to advance my passion and my initiative application to PR.
In regards to what the future holds, there s no telling of what’s in store. There are so many amazing opportunities waiting to be taken! Passion is always evolving! Stay tuned and I will keep you posted!