A little less than two years ago, I sat in a large introduction to public relations class. Hundreds of students sat in desks around me, and I’ll admit, it was a bit intimidating looking at how many of my peers would be going into the same job market as myself. How was I going to stand out? How was I supposed to know how to land an internship or job? What did I need to focus on during my time in the School of Journalism and Communication? I was brand new to the program, and although I didn’t know what the future of PR would hold for me, I was eager to learn everything I could to succeed in the industry.
Fast forward. It’s my last term of college, and I just returned home from a full day of work at my PR and marketing internship. Two years have flown by, but I learned so much and took on many opportunities to get where I am today. For me, it was mostly trial and error, figuring out the answers to those questions I asked myself in that big classroom.
If you are one of those students who is just starting out on the PR track feeling nervous like I did, I have some great news for you. You can get all the inside scoop about classes, instructors, internship tips and more by doing one simple thing. Join the PRSSA mentorship program! I am taking the time to tell you about this incredible program because I was not fortunate enough to be a mentee during my time of need. If I had a mentor during my journey through the PR sequence, my questions would have been answered by a peer who already went through the same experiences. Your peers are often some of the greatest sources of knowledge when it comes to the process of working your way through the sequence and on to the professional world.
I’m going to switch gears to address those of you who have already embarked partway through the PR sequence. The mentorship program is just as important for you as it is for those students just starting out. Become a mentor! I started in the program as a mentor, and it has been such a rewarding experience. Not only are you able to give advice to a peer just starting the sequence, (who doesn’t feel good when helping someone out?) but you also learn from them as well. I’m confident my mentee and I will continue to stay in touch. We learn from each other and encourage each other as we take on new opportunities, which is an awesome connection to take away from this experience.
There’s nothing better than Ducks helping Ducks, and this program gives PR students a way to start building those relationships while you’re still at the SOJC. For more information about the program, check out the PRSSA website.
Kati VanLoo is a senior at the University of Oregon graduating in June. She has interned in both the corporate and agency settings, including her current position she holds as a part of the Portland Senior Experience. During her time at the SOJC she was an account supervisor for Allen Hall Public Relations, a writer for Her Campus Oregon and a mentor in the PRSSA mentorship program. Check out her PR lifestyle blog or follow her on Twitter at @Katelyn_VanLoo.