Public Relations Helps Transfer Student Unite with the Flock
Two years ago, I began my college career at another Christian college. Attending there for the next four years was exactly what I thought I wanted. Each day I would attend my classes as a public relations (PR) major, and each night I would read my textbooks to absorb all the information associated with public relations as a profession. I learned many useful facts and strategies that I would be able to implement after completing my education. These useful facts and strategies included but were not limited to:
The importance of networking.
The emphasis of mutually satisfactory, two-way communication.
The significance of influencing public opinion.
The value a trusted representative obtains.
Although PR is most normally a planned process, the next step of my college career was completely unplanned. The fact of the matter is, four months ago, I had no idea that I would be able to utilize these specific skills two years prior to my graduation.
Today, I attend Anderson University (AU) as a transfer junior, public relations major. Being a transfer student as an upper classman is difficult; everyone in my class already has their friend group and all the underclassman are closer to other students who are new to college. Although transferring schools is dramatically different than beginning a career as a PR professional, I have found great comfort in the usefulness of PR in my new life as an AU Raven. Each bullet point listed above has been used to impact my new life.
The importance of networking. Networking, in its most basic form, is simply introducing oneself to another person, and finding some way to connect with him or her. It is most commonly used to further one’s career; however, over the past two weeks, I have used the networking skill to meet new people and form fresh bonds and friendships to my new peers. Networking has taken on a few different forms since my coming to AU including, sitting with new people everyday at lunch, going to campus events, or introducing myself to the person I sit next to in class.
The emphasis of mutually satisfactory, two-way communication. I have found that many people in today’s world have little to no idea how to communicate face-to-face. Meeting new people at AU has reinforced the importance of two-way communication. People generally want to know and be known, and I have found no better way to accomplish this than to simply sit and talk to one another. Had I not come to AU, I would most likely remain in my bubble of friends and have minimal experience with learning new communication habits.
The significance of influencing public opinion. Influencing public opinion lies at the heart of PR. In my experience, each person influences another whether they intend to or not. In the PR field, one might need to persuade the public to feel a certain way about a company or issue, but recently I have been using my ability to influence by just being myself. Being oneself will influence another person to befriend you or even simply be themselves in return. However, a person cannot be themselves without the utilization of the next point.
The value a trusted representative obtains. In order to be a successful PR professional, people need to trust you. I believe the same is true for being a friend. For a person to be a good friend, he or she also must be trustworthy. Being trustworthy has always been easily attainable for me. Being myself, never skewing the truth or lying, and being reliable are all ways I have been able to gain trust.
Of course, there is far more to learn before I begin my career as a PR professional, but I am ever so thankful that I have been given the opportunity to use my PR skills at a place as great as AU. Had I not studied communication and PR for the past two years, I am not confident I would have had an as easy transition. I believe this experience will benefit me at the completion of my education, and I will be able to not only implement these lessons but build on them.
Blakelee Steeb is a junior from Eminence, Indiana, majoring in public relations and minoring in management. Blakelee is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, a student-run public relations agency at Anderson University.