When it came time to choose a concentration in the SCOM program, public relations seemed liked a good fit. I knew PR would allow me to operate from a creative space, combining work with multi media platforms, presentational speaking, relationship building, and writing. Creative freedom has always been an important aspect of professional life for me.
Flash forward to being an admitted communications studies major with a concentration in public relations. I had enjoyed the intro classes and was feeling confident in my decision to zero in on public relations. But learning about something in a class setting and actually being able to successfully practice a concept are two completely different. So, in an attempt to gain some work experience and to test my ability to apply PR theories and principles in real life, I decided to pursue an internship at a fashion public relations firm in central London.
On my first day of work, I woke up overflowing with excitement! Finally, an opportunity to explore work in an agency setting, as opposed to my prior experience with in-house PR. My very first assignment was a basic one, but I couldn’t have been happier to complete it. As the weeks went on, my level of responsibility increased rapidly. One of the junior account executives left the firm to accept another job and some of her tasks fell to me. She spent her last few days at the firm training me on the responsibilities I’d have in her absence. Suddenly, I was treated like another account executive and I knew I wasn’t ready. I thought to myself, “There’s no way I can take on so much. I’m only a student.” But the junior executive said to me, “You can do this. I was in your shoes--a student intern--only a few years ago. You can do this.” And with those encouraging words of affirmation, she left. She left me her responsibilities, her field contacts, her desk, and a notebook filled with encouraging words and important notes on specific firm clients. By the end of my internship, I felt as though there was nothing I couldn’t do.
Yes, I learned more than I could have imagined about working at a PR agency and implementation of theories and principles, but I also learned more than I could have imagined about myself. I learned that I’m determined, a fast learner, and wholly capable of handling pressure. And most importantly, I learned that I could not only survive, but thrive in the field of public relations. That internship taught me to believe in myself--something no text book or seminar could have better instilled in me. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in public relations, specifically in sectors of fashion and entertainment, and I’m looking forward to more opportunities that allow me to simultaneously develop professionally and personally.