Stepping out of My Comfort Zone

By Jacob Voss

Beginning my journey into freshman year at Loyola, I had no idea what I wanted to do,what major I wanted to pursue, what job I wanted to have and the list goes on. But then I decided to go the communications route, and I felt like I had narrowed down my interests enough. But as I continued to learn more about the communication industry, I began to learn that under the umbrella of communications, there is so much more: advertising, public relations, media, crisis communications, graphic design, etc.

This past summer, I was a Media Intern at Starcom Mediavest Group in the Chicago Loop. At first, I was very skeptical about if I wanted to accept the internship. It was strategic media planning, and frankly, I didn’t even know what exactly that was at the time. But I accepted the position and have not regretted it since. I do not regret my decision because it was something new; something completely different than anything I had ever learned. I never thought I was good at numbers, evaluating data or thinking strategically about media placement, but this was all new and that intrigued me.

So here is my point. Expose yourself to as many new experiences as you can. Do something that makes you uncomfortable, something that you have never done before. Because when you learn how to do something that you have never done before, that only increases your confidence and your value to future employers and to yourself.

Just because you think you might not like something, or be good at something, taking that leap will set you far above your peers.

This concept really epitomizes what PRSSA is all about. While you may be focusing primarily on public relations right now, just keep in mind that it is important to always step out of your comfort zone and try something new. That will be PRSSA’s main focus this year. We want to expose our members to as much of the communications industry as possible before they graduate, making them a valuable asset to any future employer.

This Summer, I #Healthcared

By Hannah Bailey

*Stream of consciousness the night before I started my internship*

“So, if I leave at 8:06 a.m. I can catch the 8:18 a.m. train, and that leaves time to get coffee before I go in, unless there’s a train delay, then I won’t get coffee.”

“They told me to sign in at the desk and wait for them in the lobby, so don’t try to walk right into the office and make a fool of yourself by assuming you have more authority than you actually do.”

“I hope they don’t ask me questions I don’t know the answer to, but I really hope I learn things because otherwise I’m going to graduate in a year and know nothing.”

“What if my boss turns out to be really mean or doesn’t like me…but she seemed really nice in the interview so I’m sure it will be okay.”

“Alright, settle down, if you don’t stop now you’ll have bags under your eyes tomorrow and everyone will know you as the zombie intern for the rest of the summer.”

“Stop. Stop thinking. It’s time for sleep now. Just count sheep or something. 1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep….”

I had already had three internships before I began my role as marketing intern at Patient Innovation Center, a healthcare startup in the West Loop, this summer. I had been in PRSSA since I was a freshman and interning since I was a sophomore, so I understood the expectations of this kind of work. And most importantly, I knew the first day drill; what to say, who to ask and what to have prepared. However, that didn’t stop my head from spinning in circles the night before I started with the million worries we always have before beginning a new job. Because new will always be scary, and the field of public relations and communications is so vast, every experience you have within it is sure to come with a whole new set of challenges to overcome and skills to learn.

A few of these said challenges and skills include:

  • #1: How to get millennials to care about healthcare
    • Solution: Use Pokémon Go and social media to remind millennials that healthcare is important
  • #2: How to run an organization’s social media
    • Solution: Use a target-directed tone, incorporate a ton of graphics, schedule all your posts through Hootsuite, and try your best to not use puns (even though it’s really hard and you just have to sometimes)
  • #3: How to find the bathroom
    • Solution: Just ask. However, when in doubt, it’s probably down the hall and to the left
  • #4: How to make sure you are learning as much as you can
    • Solution: Always ask if there is more you can do and always do more than you are asked. Your boss will notice, and that is what turns a good intern into a memorable intern

Throughout college, some people will tell you to look for the best and shiniest internship–the one you have your last semester or two at the biggest agency in town. But my communication professors, as well as PRSSA, taught me early that’s just not the case. It’s about learning as much as you can in as many different ways as possible before you graduate. And that means interning at a publicity office for a movie marketing agency, on a communications team for business networking firm, assisting in PR for a mental illness awareness nonprofit and creating marketing material for a small healthcare startup. Seeking variety in your work is what helps you become truly prepared for your next opportunity.

So, the morning of my first day at Patient Innovation Center, when I left my apartment at 8:06 a.m. and caught the 8:18 a.m. train, when the train sat at the Fullerton stop for 10 minutes and I had to skip my coffee run, when I signed in and patiently waited in the lobby for my boss, when they taught me what the acronyms they were saying meant and how to boost Facebook posts, and when my boss kindly answered every question I had, I exited the building at the end of the day not even thinking about the bags under my eyes. I was too busy thinking, “I can’t wait to do this again tomorrow.”

 

WHAT I WISH I KNEW MY FRESHMAN YEAR

It’s pretty common for suburban kids to commute to their college if they are staying within the same state. For example, my sister attended UIC and made the hour and a half commute there and back every day. I followed in her footsteps and commuted as well, but to Loyola University (which I know is a significant difference in time and distance but it still sucked). My sophomore year, I pushed for my dad to let me stay on campus and that second year taught me so much. Here are a few things I wish I would’ve known before my freshman year. Continue reading “WHAT I WISH I KNEW MY FRESHMAN YEAR”

Landing the Internship

If your future plans include doing something in public relations, you will definitely need some experience before starting your career. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in landing internships (I’ve gone through my fair share of rejections), but I have a handful of experience on my back. Today, I’m sharing with you my tips and tricks on landing the internship. Continue reading “Landing the Internship”

Dressed to Impress: Mastering the Art of Business Casual

As young professionals we are expected to talk the talk and walk the walk. We are challenged to be skilled communicators, sociable networkers and to exhibit professionalism at all times. As public relations professionals, we can certainly talk the talk and usually walk the walk, but there are two words that stop some of us dead in our tracks: business casual. Continue reading “Dressed to Impress: Mastering the Art of Business Casual”