By Holly Jenvey
Two years ago, my family and I moved from New York City to Los Angeles. Moving across the country at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic was a step into the unknown, but instilled the values of curiosity, connectivity and resilience in my professional and personal life.
My curiosity is a foundation of what continues to help me grow. Incorporating my passions is what drove me to major in public relations.
As internships were canceled due to the pandemic, I enrolled in PR Council’s “Agency-Ready” Certificate program. At the time, I was only a journalism major at DePaul University, but was eager to learn more about public relations as my classmates who were in the Public Relations & Advertising (PRAD) program loved it.
From pursuing the certification, I knew that public relations was going to be a career for me. I learned all about the different facets of PR including brand storytelling, financial PR and finding ways to network in the industry. The certification taught me that I had a passion for helping brands help the greater good. In July 2020, I officially declared a second major in public relations & advertising.
Another instance of my curiosity stemmed from wanting to learn more about my new environment. As everyone was required to wear masks and social distance at the time, exploration was limited.
Luckily, I landed an editorial internship at a local newspaper called, The Argonaut. The newsweekly publication covers stories of the Westside communities of Los Angeles (including the cities of Santa Monica, Venice, among others). Through reporting on a plethora of topics like city council, the environment, homelessness, education and more, I got a sense of the culture and values of where I was living. I am now a freelancer for the publication.
Leveraging your network is incredibly important and valuable while in university. With the power of LinkedIn, you can connect with people from around the world.
As I was 2,000+ miles away from DePaul (located in Chicago, IL), I didn’t get the “traditional” college experience for two years. However, studying from home encouraged me to find ways to gather new connections.
I joined DePaul’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter (PRSSA) in September 2020 to meet other PRAD majors while gaining professional development. Not only did I connect with people within our chapter, but I got to meet PRSSA and PRSA members from around the world.
I enjoyed PRSSA’s Chapter Development Session and PRSA’s International Conference (ICON) as I got to speak with students and professionals from all over the country. Not only did I gain new LinkedIn connections, but all the conversations I’ve had were extremely engaging and kindhearted.
In 2021 until March 2022, I was the vice president of events for DePaul PRSSA. Our chapter was selected to host the Midwest District Conference, where I was one of the coordinators. When the conference took place in February, it was wonderful to witness students from PRSSA chapters from around the country connect with representatives in Chicago’s top PR agencies along with industry professionals.
I am incredibly excited to continue my journey as a PRSA member.
The shift to working remotely was hard for students. It brought on a lack of structure, isolation among other problems. However, these obstacles can bring upon strengths that haven’t been discovered before.
Working remotely helped me with my time management, which allowed me to take on more than I ever thought I could.
In 2021, I was working with deadlines in Central and Pacific time. My coursework and PRSSA responsibilities were based in Central time whereas my editorial internship at Spa & Beauty Today were based on Pacific. Navigating a variety of deadlines in two time zones may seem overwhelming, but only if you perceive it that way.
For me, it helped me think ahead. I had a heightened desire to be punctual in any endeavor, which helped me get my work done faster. This was aided by a change of surroundings. I noticed that leaving my home to work boosted my productivity. The different environments shifted my mindset as I could associate home with relaxing and other places I worked with productivity. Otherwise, if I only remained at home, things would become stagnant.
Working anywhere has its perks. As I didn’t have a classroom I needed to get to, I could be anywhere at any time. In September 2021, I traveled to Las Vegas to cover Chicago’s (the band) Fan Club Convention. This opportunity allowed me to see how live music was operating amid a “new” way of living. It also gave me the chance to interview musicians Lee Loughnane and Ray Herrmann alongside fans who were excited to regroup after a long time.
Leveraging my work schedule helped me discover opportunities I never thought were possible beforehand. It also made me see how even if anything became overwhelming, I knew I could persevere.
However, being resilient requires you to map out time for yourself. For me, it ensured that I made time for exercising and relaxing. By taking care of yourself, you can be better equipped to handle your responsibilities.