By: Sarah Copeland
One thing my mother always taught me while I was growing up was to think before you speak and, if you are going to speak, make sure it comes out right. Now, as a college student trying to graduate with a major in public relations, I realize how important that lesson really was.
Honestly, I would never have pictured myself where I am now. Math was always my strong suit. Unlike English classes, where there was an essay for every exam asking to analyze a certain poem or ancient novel by a famous author, math never had to be interpreted. It was what it was and I liked that. Find the value of X. Easy. I flew through calculus two in high school with a solid A and thought I was better at math than any other subject. There was only one problem: there was absolutely no career of interest for me that had to do with math. No way was I going to be an accountant or a mathematician. I liked math but not that much. So, I ignored deciding on a major, figuring I would find out when I got to college.
It wasn’t until the Dean of Honors College talked to me at an introductory meeting that things really changed. She was impressed with my SAT scores in the math section and promptly told me how I would make a good engineer. I burst into tears. This was not the career path I wanted at all. Actually, it would take another year for me to find out what I wanted.
I learned about public relations some time before my sophomore year. Because of my mother, I had always known when people had said the wrong thing. I also knew when they made mistakes and even noticed how well of a job they did when they apologized. For instance, we may not all remember what happened with Johnson& Johnson Tylenol but I’m sure all of us know about what happened with Blue Bell. What I didn’t know was that there was a career that handled those situations. Of course, public relations is such a broad subject that I really didn’t know much about it when I decided to claim PR as my major. But I took the plunge anyways.
All I can say is that it is a good thing that I am a decent student. The Mayborn School of Journalism at UNT doesn’t make it easy. If you don’t love what you are studying you won’t make it through. I powered through the media writing courses, hating every second I had to write a news story. But they were required before I could reach PR courses. I can’t say it got any easier once I finally took the classes I was working so hard to reach. One thing I learned, though, is that public relations is different for everyone. PR may be all about social media for one person and all about nonprofits for another. For me, my public relations goal is about maintaining relationships through how you verbally communicate (aka: External Affairs maybe even leaning towards HR work). This again comes from what my mother taught me and partially from the part of my personality that wants everyone to be happy.
I now find myself, as a junior, taking a capstone course in PR. According to the professor, this is a challenging choice. My professor’s knowledge of the course, and of public relations in general, makes me anxious. I’m currently trying not to drown from “drinking from the fire hose”, a phrase used by my professor which relates to another class but is still relevant for her communications course. All I can say is that, after two years of study, I still love public relations and eagerly await going out into the real world.
Photo By: InvetorSpot
We’ll see how it goes.
Bye for now,