The entire time I was growing up, I wanted to be a doctor. Imagine everyone’s surprise when, after my freshman year, I completely pivoted to public relations. The questions I got asked the most was, “Why?”
Picking a college major is daunting. At the age of 18, you’re expected to know what you want to do, choose a college major that coincides with that and stick to it. Newsflash: That’s not always realistic. While some people grow up to be exactly what they dreamed of when they were seven, most people change their minds.
As a freshman, sitting in a class learning about elements and the structures of cells wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t what I wanted to spend four (ahem, five) years of college doing. I didn’t mind it, but I didn’t love it either. I knew I wanted to do something that I loved.
After much introspection, I realized the following:
- I want a job where I could be around people. I can’t even imagine a job where I sit in a cubicle by myself all day.
- But I also want to be able to work alone. I’m an extroverted introvert. I love being around people, but it can be draining.
- I want a creative outlet. I love writing and crafting. I thought it would be ideal if I could find a job that incorporates those things.
- I want something flexible and engaging. I get bored very easily and don’t want to be doing the same thing day in and day out.
Following a minor mental breakdown and a trip to Auburn’s career services, I discovered public relations. It ended up being the perfect fit. And lucky for me, Auburn has one of the best curriculum in the country.
What is Public Relations?
It is not “spin.” It is, in its most literal translation, relating to the public, but it’s also so much more than that. Public relations is the reason that major organizations have “Sustainability” tabs on their websites. It’s why companies are so quick to respond to negative tweets and to interact with customers on social media. Organizations have realized that because there is instant access to any and all information, how the public perceives them matters.
Auburn gave me more insight into what public relations is and what it means. Through my major, I have learned how to effectively communicate a message. I can write in AP style and edit what others write. I looked at case studies and learned why certain approaches to public relations work and why some do not.
Additionally, I gained first-hand experience. The public relations curriculum has you do real public relations work for real clients.
I have worked as part of a group to create and administer a survey to help solve a problem for a client. We analyzed the results of our research and presented them to the client, as well as providing them with a printed copy of our report.
I am currently working as part of a group to organize a public relations campaign for a client. We have meetings with our client and have conducted interviews for research. At the end of the semester, we’ll present our campaign to our client and give them a bound copy of it.
All public relations majors are also required to complete an internship to graduate. This gave me the opportunity to get into the field and make sure that this is what I want to do.
Graduation is in just over a month, and I’m leaving college feeling prepared for anything. I have more experience than most people do before graduating. I love my major because I feel prepared for a job in public relations. And isn’t that how you’re supposed to feel when you graduate?