This post is part of PRSSA’s June 2014 “Progressions Writing Prompt” exercise. Read this post for details.
If things had gone as originally planned, I would have started my first PR job this summer. Instead, I seized the chance to serve as PRSSA National President, which means I have one more semester of college—and one more summer to figure out what I want to do with my post-grad self.
To make the most of my “bonus” summer, I’ve chosen five areas to focus on, many of which other young professional can apply to their own summer plans.
1. Try on the corporate PR scene
For those of us still in college, summer is the perfect time to try a new career setting. After completing an internship with a small agency, I decided to try the complete opposite— a large corporation. For the summer, I have joined Exxon Mobil Corporation as a public and government affairs intern. Interning at a large corporation is providing me with a strong sense of what the corporate atmosphere is like while also enhancing my skills in public affairs and corporate communications. If I hadn’t decided to try something new, I never would have known if corporate was the right career path for me to take after I graduate.
2. Explore life in a new city
In addition to trying out a new type of PR this summer, I am trying out a new city. As a young PR professional, having a social network is extremely important. This summer, I plan to explore Dallas by connecting with the local PRSA chapter, checking out the coffee and music scenes, and experiencing Dallas nightlife.
3. Read up on industry trends
During the school year, it is easy to get behind on the latest news. This summer, I am getting into the habit of reading PRSA Issues and Trends, public relations blogs and other sources of news every morning. Knowing the latest keeps you relevant and helps generate conversation topics at networking events.
4. Embrace creativity.
Sometimes I get so caught up in studying public relations that I neglect my first love—creative writing. I originally wanted to be a creative writing major but decided to make it my minor when I realized that public relations would combine my love of writing with my love of speaking. I hope to start writing fiction again, which will also enhance my creativity in public relations.
I have designated Saturdays “no work days.” Sometimes, a PR pro just needs to shut off the cell phone and lounge by the pool—preferably with a cocktail in hand.