By Chelsea Journee
My biggest regret throughout my college experience is that I did not get involved in student organizations my freshman year. Freshman year was a confusing time for me because I had moved from Texas to Oklahoma to attend the University of Oklahoma, specifically for its geology program. My whole life I thought I wanted to be a geologist, but after sitting through my first geology class, I realized that it wasn’t for me.
I went to our student services center at OU and talked to a career counselor about what major could be a good fit for me. I told the counselor that I was thinking about PR because I had made a friend who was a PR major and her classes seemed interesting. And after that, I was immediately enrolled in my first PR class for the next semester.
Because of that big change I was scared and intimidated to get involved in student organizations. I didn’t know if public relations was going to be the right fit. So, I spent about a year sitting in my introduction PR classes wondering if PR was even right for me.
Finally, one of my professors encouraged me to attend a PRSSA meeting the second semester of my sophomore year. And the semester after that I had applied to be a part of the college of journalism’s student-run PR and advertising agency, Lindsey + Asp.
Now, as I approach my final semester in college, I look back and realize how much Lindsey + Asp and PRSSA have given me. Both organizations have given me the chance to look into what my life as a PR professional will look like once I graduate. I have had the opportunity to meet countless PR professionals from top agencies around the nation, I have received real PR experience from real clients and most importantly I have made connections with my peers.
Because of Lindsey + Asp and PRSSA, I have learned the importance of getting involved. Here are some lessons I have learned from my experience:
- Don’t discourage yourself from going to a student organization meeting if you don’t know anyone. Other people feel the same way as you.
- Major-specific organizations are the ones you need to get involved in. The members are the people who you will have all of your classes with, the people you will be working on projects with and might even become your future colleagues.
- The reason why you get involved is not for the title, and not for the resume booster, it’s about the network you will create with your peers.
The most important piece of advice I can give to students looking to pursue a degree in PR or advertising is to get involved in organizations for your major. Those organizations will transform your college experience and help you feel prepared for the professional world after you graduate.
Chelsea Journee was recently elected president of the University of Oklahoma’s chapter of PRSSA and is an account lead at Lindsey + Asp, the student-run PR and advertising agency at OU.