For the past four years, JMU has been my home away from home, more specifically, my four-hour-away-home away from home. I never minded being so far from my Philadelphia roots, but concerns started pressing in looking for a job for post-graduation. Would I stay in here? How many PR jobs could I actually thrive in in Virginia? Do I go back home to the city? In a field like PR, I want to work in an area where the options around me are endless, where there is so much going on. However Virginia may not be the place for that, and the city life in Philly can be overwhelming (and not too pretty at times), so I felt conflicted.
About a month ago, I found the happiest of mediums. The bus doors cranked open, I stepped outside onto a cold sidewalk and saw a Starbucks every 30 feet away: I was in Washington D.C… for the first time ever!
The PRSSA at JMU went on an agency trip to D.C. that I last minutely decided to join. We visited Adfero, Ketchum and Edelman. Each agency was so different, arising a new question: Do I want to work in a small agency or big agency? While soaking in what each of these agencies had to offer, I was simultaneously mesmerized by the city itself. It had a city vibe to it that reminded me of Philly, but something about it was nicer, cleaner and a whole lot more spacious. Like any city, there were big buildings and bustling business people everywhere, but none of it seemed unorganized. I fell in love.
Adfero was a small, sleek, modern agency that welcomed us so personally and kindly. We sat around on some couches and chairs while a few employees explained to us their workplace environment, company values and provided a few examples of clients and campaigns they had worked with. I loved everything about the atmosphere, and better yet, they emphasized the importance of staying updated with what’s going on in the city. Specifically, since D.C. is the nation’s capital and hub of political action, a PR crisis can appear at any moment, and you never know what you might miss if you don’t check the news for a couple of minutes. For someone very invested in politics, I was yet again, hooked on the city.
In a quick turnaround, we visited Ketchum, which was more of a large agency with big clients. The representatives there explained all of these PR campaigns they had worked on, and they were the coolest ideas ever. Never before had I actually felt that PR was seriously so fun; I was in awe. They created campaigns for several Hershey brands like Kit Kat, Reese’s and Almond Joy. Even though to me these are all just similar chocolate candies, I had never even considered the different audiences to which they needed to pertain. Apparently Reese’s has an outrageous fanbase, so they had to go to some extreme measures to make a fun, competitive campaign; whereas for Almond Joy, they took a simple, relaxing approach. Visiting Ketchum really made me excited about the big names I could get involved with in D.C. and the extravagant ways to make my job fun.
Edelman was an even bigger space than Ketchum, and had a very professional outlook. I was very impressed by 300 employees working there, especially since we met so many JMU alumni! It was inspiring and reassuring to see so many people who were once in my exact position as a college student working and flourishing in such an amazing establishment. This made the experience feel a lot more welcoming, and gave me a little confidence boost about the value of my education at JMU. Each of the alumni described their diverse backgrounds, making it apparent that Edelman has an opportunity for all different niches. After visiting these three agencies, I was a little less scared about the future and a lot less scared about moving away from home.
While I still don’t know exactly what type of agency I would like to end up at, the experience gave me valuable insight as to what each type entails. And while I was unsure about the city life but also nervous to stay so far south from home, I think D.C. is a perfect fit for me, my personality, my interests and my future as a PR practitioner.
If you would like to donate to the Rosina Moves to D.C. Fund, please contact Bluestone Communications for further contact information.