As a soon-to-be college graduate, I have taken some time from my hectic schedule to reflect upon my time spent at Simpson College.
I started out a confused, lost freshman who’s only motive in college was to fit in.
Please whatever you do, don’t do this.
Yes, freshman and even sophomore year can be trying times for students. You’re away from home, you’re experiencing life on your own and you’re still [maybe] learning who you are as a person and what you want to spend the rest of your life doing.
As someone who came into college with no direction and a huge lack of planning on my end, all I knew is that I wanted to go into business because I had grown up seeing my mom find success in the industry. She truly was the definition of #GirlBossGoals.
Getting older, I realized business is so broad. You can do anything with it. When I had my “coming to Jesus” moment with myself, I realized, I have to find something else to get the most bang for my buck here at Simpson.
After FINALLY meeting with my advisor and going into an in-depth conversation about what it was I wanted to do with my life, she directed me to the public relations major. Initially she told me about PRSSA and had me sign up so I could get a feel for what public relations was before I jumped right into the credit hours.
Sure, joining PRSSA was a great decision on my behalf and it allowed me to go out of my comfort zone by becoming a better communicator and even running for officer positions within the organization. And here I am today, a senior, and I am the President of the PRSSA organization.
I have completely seen a tremendous shift in the dynamic and culture of our organization from when I first started my sophomore year. From this year on when I step away from the position, I know it can continue to move forward and upward from here.
However, it wasn’t joining PRSSA that got me to be where I am today, professionally and academically. It was only a small piece to my puzzle. After evaluating my time here at Simpson, I have found three pieces of advice that stick out to me the most from going through the public relations major and what I hope future students take into account.
1. Get rid of the toxicity (people, jobs, clubs, things, etc.)
This is my top piece of advice for anyone who is reading this exact sentence. For three years, I spent my time at Simpson with particular individuals who were toxic to my mental well-being as well as my academic progress. I was becoming complacent because the people around me were constantly bringing me down, discouraging my ideas or weren’t going anywhere themselves.
My advice to you is simple, if something is weighing you down to the point where you’re constantly overthinking, questioning or doubting yourself, feeling tired or worn down – you need to get yourself out of whatever it might be. It may hurt initially to get rid of what you are clinging on to so tightly, but I promise (I’m speaking from experience here), time heals all and you will fully bloom into who you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to do.
End of story.
2. It’s never too early & you’re never too cool.
Simple enough. It really is never too early & you’re never too cool to join or create a club or organization on campus. Find what makes you so incredibly happy that people think you’re crazy, and for good reason.
If you don’t quite know what you’re passionate about or what you want to focus in on, try joining a variety of different clubs or attend a few of their meetings. Also, get out an volunteer because you can easily find your niche through that all while doing some good for the community. Lastly, you’re a public relations person, a communicator, so you’re bound to love organization and creating lists. Write a list of everything you want to get more skills or sharpen your knowledge on. It can’t hurt!
3. Over-involve yourself (if you have the capacity).
My senior year, I definitely over involved myself and to be honest, I couldn’t see it being any other way. I found out a lot about myself along the way. I found out what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are (cough, time management & Netflix).
Here is a running list of everything I did this semester and what I accomplished from it:
- President of PRSSA, Simpson College Chapter
- Went to the National PRSSA Conference in Indianapolis, IN
- Attending Central Iowa #OctoPRfest
- Attended Central Iowa networking events
- Ran all member meetings and became a more well-rounded speaker and presenter
- Completely revamped our organizations culture and set guidelines and standards
- Created life long relationships
- Multimedia Communications Undergrad Assistant, Simpson College
- Boosted engagement on all social media platforms
- Ran all social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Website)
- Gained valuable writing experience
- Worked with all different forms of media
- Business Communications Intern, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield (First Semester):
- Worked on projects I could call my own
- Created a new internal company website
- Produced my own content and ideas on a variety of different projects and writing pieces
- Created valuable, professional relationships with co-workers
- Nominated by my co-workers for Central IA PRSSA Student of the Year Award
- Public Relations/Public Affairs Intern, LS2Group (Second Semester):
- Learning how to create tight knit media lists
- In-depth research on a variety of different topics
- Producing content for letters to the editor and opinion editorials
- Learning to effectively media monitor for clients
- Contributor to the Simpsonian (Both Semesters):
- Added valuable writing pieces to my portfolio
- Wrote on a variety of different topics – lectures to student spotlights
- Earned the runner up for best sports feature by the Iowa College Media Association
I’m not trying to showcase all of my achievements and rub them in your face. But I have something to be incredibly proud of and I want to share that if I can accomplish this in a years worth of time, imagine everything you can accomplish over a course of three to four years.
Let that sink in for a bit.