PR Student Pains and Progress Weblog

PR Students Today Talking About Tomorrow

Company? Agency? Non-Profit? Grad School? March 5, 2008

Filed under: public relations — amandalopez @ 7:26 pm
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confusion.jpgI know that deciding what you want to do with your future after college can be excruciating. Everyone is looking to you to make the right choice and pick your life. Do I want to start working right away? What if I want to travel? Do I have enough competitive drive to work at an agency? Students are told everyday about the many choices they have, but what people don’t understand is that students are scared to death, that’s why we wait.

I feel like I just started at my University and now I am heading into the competative communications field. I have been in school for so long, I long to travel. I want to continue my education, but I can’t afford it. The pressure to make decisions can be overwhelming and if you’ve felt the beads of sweat trickle down your face thinking about it, I am right there with you.

Someone once told me that success is making lots of mistakes and learning from them. If that means bad job after bad job until the right one comes along, I hope success makes it my way quickly. Students have such a short amount of time to decide what to do with their future and have such high expectations thrust upon them, I can see why so many of us join the Peace Corps, backpack through Europe and loose themselves across the globe. We need to get away from the structure, the expectations and the pressure to live the “American Dream.” For those of us who can afford to do so, I wish you the best. For those of you who are over $20,000 in debt like me, I feel for you.

The only message I can leave with you before graduation creeps its way into our lives is do what works best for you. If you are in debt, but want to travel, get a job abroad. If you want to go to grad school, but can’t afford to do so, look into becoming an RA where they pay for your housing and sometimes tuition. If you are ready to enter the workplace, continue to set seasonal goals like you did in college; its familiar and helps you grow as a professional. The only person you need to please is yourself. As much as society, our parents, professors and peers expect us what to do, repeat that mantra to yourself and do what works best for you and your goals in life. Good luck.

* I really want to work abroad after graduation here is an article on doing so. I can’t just take off and travel because I have student loans to pay. Click here and visit a link on how to find a job abroad after graduation. Have fun!


Being the Only Student of Color in PR Classes March 4, 2008

latinagrad.jpgI don’t know if this is true for other students of color in public relations, but why is it that I am the only one in class. I am always the only one and I want to see that change. It is most difficult when my peers and sometimes my professors say ignorant remarks, stereotypical statements or blatantly racist comments. Some people would say I am “overly sensitive” or “overly observant” but I think I’m critical of my peers.

I live in a city with a high population of white people. This is not a bad thing, but can be isolating. I am often tokenized in class as some kind of “racial experts” on Black, Latino, Asian and even Middle Eastern people! I can honestly say that I have higher hopes for the professional world of public relations, but I am now realizing that it may not be as diverse as I thought it would be.

I went to a conference called the National Association for Black Journalist in Las Vegas, last summer and it was amazing. I recommend all students of color who want to meet other students or professionals in the field to attend these conferences. I am Latina, but they opened their doors to me and supported me throughout the conference. Another good idea is to contact these organizations and see if you can create one on your campus. I would love to create a student Hispanic Journalist Association at my school, but we don’t have enough students in my journalism school.

If you are like me and you feel isolated at times, tokenized or even hated on, remember that their are resources on and off campus to support you. Stay in the game and don’t let anyone tell you that you are “too-sensitive.” You have the right to feel however you want to feel. On my blogroll you will find a list of multicultural and multiracial organizations in PR field. Take a look at some of these organizations and get in contact with them if you would like more information.

I love this one. It is the Hispanic PR Wire and it links you with great resources, information about bilingual communication and surviving the industry as a minority. Look at and enjoy.


Student Stress February 27, 2008

Filed under: public relations — amandalopez @ 9:14 pm
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stressed.jpgWe have those days where you just want to throw the covers over your head and stay in bed all day, but then you think of the paper that’s due, two readings for class, your project that you’ve been procrastinating on, your time consuming job and the internship that you wish you got paid for… the list goes on and on, and on. I am a person who gets stressed from time to time. I love to be busy, but there comes a time in every student career where sleep is missed and the slightest annoyence throws you over the edge.

As a graduating senior, I hope that younger students will find resources to overcome stress. It can be a huge factor in your classroom performance. You need to be a little selfish sometimes and say no. Politely. If you really can’t do something or something takes away from your: A. Sleeping. B. Eating. or C. Functioning, you shouldn’t do it. As much as I would love to get an A++++++ on every project or attend every club meeting, it is important to understand that you are only one person. An amazing person and student, but human.

The professional world is filled with stress and learning how to balance life and work in a stressful environment is a valuable skill. I think that if students had more information and support involving stress management we would perform better. However, stress is and will continue to be a personal action that we need to be pro-active about. Nobody is going to help you randomly, you need to take the first step and ask for help.

Here is a great article that covers all kinds of stresses we face from It talks about finals stress, study tips, freshman 15, test anxiety and more. Read it and if you can relate to most of the content I would talk to a professional on campus to help you deal. Consider the career center, testing center or academic learning services, even a general adviser can offer some great advice. Good luck and remember you need to take the first step and overcome your stress.


Student Presentations February 26, 2008

Filed under: public relations — amandalopez @ 9:41 pm
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zac-225.jpgHands clamming. Throat closing. Knees weakening. Let the presentation begin! Most students have similar sensations when we are forced in front of the class or professors. In my public relations class we are studying what makes a great presentation and oddly enough for my advertising class I will be presenting to a client in two weeks! Presentations for students, I feel, can be overwhelming. Do I have what it takes? Do I understand the material enough? Is my PowerPoint boring? Do I talk loud enough? Too much? There is a lot to think about in the little time you are in front of an audience.

Attaining the skills to becoming a qualified presenter are at hand. I found that making your presentation as simple as possible helps, tremendously. Power Point presentations, the more concise the better. Charts and graphs, simple and easy to read the better. Bullets, less are so much more.

I have spoken at several events, performances and pitches and I don’t have a fear of public speaking, but many students do. I recommend, even though it sounds awful, video taping yourself. Students often enough, don’t know what they sound like or look like when presenting. Discover your strengths and presentation flaws and that is the first step to great speaking. On top of that get someone to watch you present. Get some good constructive criticism and address it early.

I get nervous like everyone else, but I found that no matter how well you understand the material, critically ask yourself questions about what you are presenting. Doing this helps you prepare for the worst questions you can image. I also found that note cards can be a distraction. Work with team members, friends and professors about ways to memorize material and not rely on notes.

Here are some great tips on presenting skills from the University of Washington and a few tips on making an effective PowerPoint presentation from a blog called Presentation Zen. Additionally, use resources on campus and talk to your adviser about other organizations at your college that can help like the debate team. Good luck and have fun!


Working on Team-PR Students and Teamwork February 20, 2008

Filed under: public relations — amandalopez @ 10:58 pm
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teamwork.jpgI don’t know what it is but when I am put on a team I immediately want to take charge. Maybe your the type of student who immediately stays quiet and observes. Others, do a bob and weave sort of team work job, and come in and out of conversation. I ateamwork.gifteamwork.gifm constantly bombarded with roles and with who should do what.

I think it’s difficult in school to work on a teams particularly because of our schedules and the occasional power trip.The fact that students do not work eight to five has poses a potential problem in itself. From my experiences and being I senior I think that the key to great teamwork, as cheesy as it maybe, is communication. Hurt feelings and fluffy language and stress combined can damage any team, but add bad scheduling on top of that a it’s a recipe for disaster. Communication to me is a two-way street. You have to set friendship, sensitivity and the desire to dominate aside. I found that the most productive meetings include forms of constructive criticism and commitment to finish successfully.I am currently in a campaigns class right now and at one point wanted to throw my computer out the window from frustration.

Understanding what disturbs your team members and being able to vocalize those pains is important and makes it a comfortable space to work. Here is a great article about surviving teamwork in school and offers some great tips for those of you venturing into public relations. I also recommend looking up some articles about teamwork in the workplace because its a great way to get some insights for the future.


Student Competition and Survival February 18, 2008

Filed under: public relations — amandalopez @ 8:41 pm
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competition.jpgI always want to compare myself to other students. Naturally, I am competitive and I wonder where that drive comes from?

Thinking about education and how students in the United States are taught to learn helps us understand the competitive drive a little bit better. Where a “C” student, meaning average,” is considered mediocrity, and an “A” student is exceptional, we can see that we all want to win from what we are taught as children. From college choice to major selection, competition is embedded into our everyday lives as students.

I am competitive, and always want to win. Win what? I have no idea. Being the best, especially in public relations is a factor that my school specifically loves to bring up. Competition for grades in class, academic programs, presentation skills, speaking skills, performance on projects – it can be suffocating. This also hints as to the public relations field, and what I can expect in entering the PR job market.

I am not saying competition is entirely bad, it can be a great motivator, but it can distract students because the focus from quality work and understanding lessons changes direction to “win” and “being the best.” Some people may feel that this is a good thing, but for me I can honestly say it gets overwhelming.

What can students do? Well if your like me and have a hard time dealing with the competitive drive maybe doing projects in which there is no reward. I work for a PR group called Allen Hall Public Relations and we work together as an agency. There is no competition but we all work together to get the job done for clients and their many projects. This helps me learn outside of classroom and understand that the work is what’s important not being the best.

For those of you who need a little push or drive to get them to work I recommend the Bateman Case Study Competition. It was created for PR students to compete on a national level and teach students. Its “an opportunity to exercise the analytical skills and mature judgment required for public relations problem-solving, “ according to the Public Relations Student Society of America website. If you are interested in competing with teams across the nation visit the PRSSA website for more information.

Good luck to you all, and remember competition will always be there, don’t let it consume you, and enjoy being a student who has a lot to learn.

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PR- What am I Doing and how am I Going to get There?

research.jpgI was sitting at my desk during class, and I began to daydream. I didn’t even realize that I had been typing mid-sentence when I realized I don’t actually know what PR is all about and what it will be like in the future.

In the article Your Future in Public Relations by Steve R. Van Hook, he talks about the many options in public relations from salary to career areas like government and agency work. I liked the article because it answered questions about the public relations field, simple questions, that thought I had answers.

Like everything else, research really does help give insight to the unknown. I recommend giving it a good read, even though you may think you know all you need to from that “one” internship last summer. He gives some great advice about the “rough times’ and how to prepare for the future.

The article stresses being prepared and offers somewhat of a checklist for readers to think about when reading. Checklists always offer an internal clock on people and it helped me really think about what I have and haven’t done to be ready for the PR field. Get yourself a mental checklist and look through some online articles written by PR professionals and their experiences in the field. Just think, you may find an answer to question you didn’t know you had!