Gowns, Paychecks and Other Changes

Gowns, paychecks &
Senior year of high school (2012) to senior year of college (2016)

Well, it’s official: I’ve been terrible keeping up with blog posts this semester.

In my defense, I’ve been soaking up and enjoying the last four months of my collegiate career (and my youth, depending on who you ask). I’ve always been a person who appreciates each day (or at least I feel that way) so I can’t be too upset about enjoying my days and the little things rather than getting wrapped up in writing blog posts. Though, I do have several drafts that never quite made it published so, hey, at least I tried? I promise I’ll get better now that I’m an almost-boring-adult.

Nevertheless, I have a lot of exciting changes happening in the next 30 days.

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My decorated cap for my upcoming graduation.

For one, I’ll be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations on May 6. After four long, grueling but amazing years, I will finally have a diploma to prove all of my hard work. It’s hard to believe how fast four years flew by (check out ‘Changes’ a blog post I wrote almost 4 years ago exactly that is eerily similar to this one) and how difficult it is going to be to say goodbye to the best school, friends and memories I could have ever asked for. However, I know that my sadness is no more than a testament to how great my time has been.

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Mom and Dad during their Ball State years. Ever since I could remember, I knew I wanted to attend BSU.

 

The craziest part about graduating to me is that it is finally happening. It’s one of those things I never spent a lot of time thinking about (as everyone says college is the best time of your life, so why would I think about leaving?) so it’s weird to know that in just a few weeks, it WILL be real. I’ll finally get to join my parents in saying I’m an alumna of Ball State University, almost 30 years exactly after they did.

I’ll also be starting a full-time job at Dittoe Public Relations mid-May as an Account Coordinator. By far, this is the most exciting part about the newest chapter in my life. I’m excited to take the first step in my professional career and join a company that I love so much.

Another change for me will be moving back home with my mom and dad, or as I now affectionally call them, my roommates. I’m also guessing this new change in particular will warrant a blog post or two. Regardless, I’m thankful that I have a place and people who will let me move back in (temporarily) to save up some money until I can land on my own two feet.

Most importantly, I’m thankful for all of the opportunities and experiences I’ve been afforded throughout the years. The great and fond memories I have only make me more excited for all of the amazing things that I know lie ahead of me. So, here’s to the future and taking my first “big” leap. I’ll leave with my all-time favorite quote:

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind” – C.S. Lewis

Cheers!

Sammi

How I see my future: As told by an almost 22-year-old college senior

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As I realized my final summer break was coming to a close, I began thinking about everything that I’ve accomplished this summer and past year- but also, everything I have to look forward to in the future. In such a short amount of time, I think I’ve had an epiphany of sorts (but we’ll get to that later).

When 2016 started, I was not a happy camper. I wasn’t excited about entering the year that I turn 22 (still not excited) and I was in the midst of what I called my “mid-life crisis”. With graduation only a year out, I wasn’t really sure where I saw myself post-graduation and if I was even ready to enter a new chapter in my life. After all, I was comfortable in the one that I was in.

However, a few things happened that changed my outlook on the future.

First, a professor encouraged me to consider working at an agency post-graduation. After spending time in her class, she told me she thought I would be cut out for that type of work. I can’t thank her enough for the encouragement. You see, at this point in the year I was feeling conflicted about what I wanted to do career-wise. I hadn’t been seeking her advice on careers, I had actually been there to talk about a group project I was feeling dissatisfied with. That’s when she took time out to get to know me and offered those words of advice.

So, the advice of my professor led me to apply to a few PR agencies for the summer. After interviewing and praying that something would work out so that I wouldn’t have to do something I hated all summer long, I was offered a full-time summer internship with Dittoe Public Relations.

If you’ve spoken with me in the past few months, you probably know that I loved my internship. In my three months there, I learned more than I had ever learned in a classroom. I was getting real-world experience and working with real clients, under some great mentors. It was by far the greatest experience I could have asked for and then so much more.

Now, as I leave my internship to finish my senior year of college, I feel like I’m ready to see a chapter in my life close and a new one start. Although the future is filled with so many uncertainties, I feel certain that I picked the right career choice for me, which is a very rewarding feeling. I’m one of the few lucky college students who never once changed majors. I came in as a public relations major, and out I will go.

Nonetheless, I am excited to get back to school and spend my final year in school with my friends and enjoying one last year of “freedom”. I am also excited to get back to school and be reunited with my sorority. I will also be finishing out my second term as chapter president, and I can’t wait to participate in recruitment, knowing that the sisters we recruit will be the ones who will one day be in the same shoes as I am.

Lastly, my summer isn’t quite over yet – I am about to embark on a very exciting journey. On Tuesday, I will be heading out (on a very long flight) to Rio de Janiero, Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics. This will be my first time out of the country and I couldn’t be more excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

So, future I’m ready for you and not quite as scared as I used to be.

So, you wanna be on TV? And 5 other questions I get about PR

If someone were to ask me, “did you pick the right major?” I would immediately respond, “yes!” I guess I am fortunate being one of the few lucky college students who didn’t change their major once in four years. I came in as a Public Relations major, and out I will go as a PR grad.

One of the most difficult parts of being a PR major, however, is dealing with the constant confusion that surrounds it. Here are some of the most common questions I get when I tell people that I am in public relations.

So you want to be on TV, huh? 

I get this question more than you would think. No, I gently tell them, I don’t want to be on television. If I did, I would have most likely majored in telecommunications or journalism, something of that nature. When it comes to public relations, my job is to get my client on TV, not myself. Not to mention, becoming a TV anchor is definitely not in my top 10 career choices.

What do you want to do with that? 

Also a very common question I receive when I tell people that I am a public relations major. When someone asks what I want to do with PR, I want to snidely respond with, “Well, public relations”. Yes, as shocking as it is, I want to do public relations with my public relations degree. To be fair, I think people ask me this question because they don’t actually know what PR is and they are hoping that I explain it to them. Of course, there are a few different avenues you can take with this, but still, I don’t think my response is too harsh.

Oh, like Samantha from Sex and the City?

Granted, Sex and the City is one of my all-time favorite TV shows and my name is Samantha. However, this isn’t exactly correct. While what Samantha does is technically public relations, like all TV shows, it does not portray the profession realistically. Besides, Samantha does PR mostly for individuals–and those who are famous. The PR that I want to do (and what I think is most common) is PR for organizations and businesses and is all about getting media coverage to enhance the organization’s exposure and brand awareness/knowledge. Samantha is awesome, but don’t think of her as the greatest example of PR that’s out there.

So you like to talk a lot then?

While this is extremely applicable to myself, I wouldn’t say that this is true of all Public Relations professionals. While communication is certainly a key aspect of PR, I don’t think that it is everything. I do firmly believe that someone quieter or more reserved could thrive in public relations–especially with technology and communication being the way that it is today. Like I’ve said before, people don’t fully understand public relations and what all it entails. People truly believe that all you do is “talk”. Which brings me to my next question…

So, basically you’ll get paid to just talk all day?

Not really sure why I’ve gotten this question as many times as I have. I honestly don’t think there is any job in the world where you simply “talk” all day–and I have no idea why people think this is what public relations is, because it is so much more than that. Not only is PR about building a reputation and increasing public awareness of an organization/company/individual, but there is a lot of research and critical thinking that goes into it as well. Public relations professionals spend countless hours researching journalists to pitch stories to just to be turned down. We incorporate design, writing, research and communication to create knowledge about a client, despite the fact that PR isn’t always as quantitative or measurable in ways that our similar-but-also-different cousins, marketing and advertising, are.

Oh, good for you

The response that I get most often because it is easier for people to pretend like they know what PR is than to ask me any of the above questions.