How I continue to learn about myself through the public relations industry

“Be Bold & Be Hungry.”

This was the advice I received this morning after sitting down to chat with P.R. pro and Yo, Mama blogger, Whitney.

The words have come to me at a very fitting point in my career. I am currently staring my senior year of undergrad in the face, a vantage point which means the every-day decisions I make can significantly impact my future. Though it can be a struggle sometimes, I am not letting this overwhelm me but rather putting Whitney’s advice into practice.

Follow me on Instagram @mss_218.

Including this morning’s rendezvous at Calvin Fletcher Coffee Company, I have made appointments with several industry professionals over the last three weeks. As a young pro, I am so grateful for these opportunities to talk with people of various backgrounds, and I plan to continue these types of meet ups (as long as people are willing to allow me some of their time!).

Through these conversations, I have received multiple perspectives on what working in P.R. is like. I have had many experiential learning opportunities thus far, but there is a very unique value in sitting down with people who have had the types of jobs I aspire to have. I say jobs because I am still whittling down my answer to the ever-looming question, “What do you want to do after graduation?” While I am passionate about P.R., as exhibited by my five internships and my current vice presidency of PRSSA, I am not yet sure what sector is best for my work style.

Most of what I have done has been in the non-profit sector. While the missions of the organizations I have worked with certainly align with my personal values, I’m currently pursuing opportunities that are a bit more fast-paced. In particular, I am looking into agency roles. Talking to individuals who have worked for both agencies and for nonprofits has been critical to my self-discovery process.

These meetings have reassured me that no matter what sector I end up in, I am on the right path. As I discussed with Whitney this morning, I was a creative writer growing up. I have always been shy, and when I was younger I clung tightly to a small group of friends. Choosing to pursue public relations has not only honed my writing skills, it has pushed me to grow as a person.

Due to a combination of industry expectations and my own ambitions, I continuously find myself in situations that force me out of my comfort zone. I am writing magazine articles, leading meetings, launching public relations campaigns, and chatting it up with people whom a younger Marissa would have found too intimidating to approach.

This newfound confidence has come in handy, whether it’s offering up my ideas in administrative meetings with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education or reaching out to the previously-mentioned P.R. professionals for advice (something I think I’ve gotten pretty good at, here are some tips). Each time that I put myself out there, I feel myself grow more confident in my skills as a public relations professional and it makes me eager to do it again.

The public relations industry has forced this social butterfly to emerge from her cocoon – bolder and hungrier than ever.

As with anyone, my confidence still wavers from time to time, and I still value doses of alone time. However, I feel well-prepared to enter the work force next spring, and I am optimistic about my career prospects. I’m very happy with how far I have come in the last three years and know that I will continue to grow personally and professionally as I pursue further opportunities.

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