FORUM Fall 2016 - Page 7

Learning to Embrace Your Time as a Student BY KRISTA WATSON PUBLICATIONS EDITOR IN CHIEF As a member of a pre-professional organization with more than 11,000 members in over 340 Chapters, I am confident that I will be prepared when graduation hits and I begin my life in the “real world.” In fact, I sometimes wish I could fast-forward to graduation day just so I can finally start my career as a public relations practitioner. PRSSA provides a plethora of networking opportunities with students in all stages of collegiate and graduate education and with industry professionals, making it easy to focus on the industry and having a career. This is something I have been focused on myself, but as I begin my junior year of college, I am realizing that I need to take advantage of being a student while I still can. It’s true that we should never stop learning, but there is only a short window of time that you will be able to study as an undergraduate or graduate student. Here are a few things to embrace before your time in the classroom runs out. 1 Student discounts As silly as this sounds, this is one thing that students take advantage of. Once you’re in the professional world, you lose your student discount privileges. As college students on a budget, this is one advantage you can’t afford to pass up. 2 Learn about the industry This is something you’ll continue to do as a professional, but college is the time to learn the ins and outs of the public relations industry so you’re prepared when it’s time to hunt for a job. Take business classes, communications classes or marketing classes. Use this opportunity to find your passion and pursue a career that you’ll enjoy. A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR internships, jobs and life, but taking the time to pursue opportunities in your community that you’re passionate about will not only be a great addition to your resume, but also will provide fulfilling work in your free time. 5 3 4 Being surrounded by graduates and professionals at networking events can make you eager to step into the real world. My advice to you all would be to embrace the time you have left as a student, whether you’re a freshman or senior, because you only have a limited amount. Volunteer As a full-time employee, it won’t be easy to find spare time to be as involved as you once were. Yes, students are busy with class, 2016–2017 Publications Editor in Chief Krista Watson Leadership opportunities Leadership is a quality that many employers look for when hiring applicants. PRSSA allows members to take on leadership roles at a local and national level. Taking advantage of these opportunities will help prepare you for leadership positions as a professional. Build your network As I previously mentioned, PRSSA allows you to network with other students and professionals across the country. Building a strong network as a student allows for a strong support system that can help you succeed after graduation. FORUM® STAFF Write for PRSSA publications to enhance your portfolio. Managing Editor Amanda McDonald Design Editor Jack McCusker Advertising Manager Hannah Bailey FORUM® is published three times a year for PRSSA members. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Society or staff. The editor in chief reserves the right to refuse all copy. Article submissions, comments and suggestions may be made via email to the editor in chief at forum@prsa. org. FORUM is produced by students at Loyola University Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. If interested, email Publications Editor in Chief Krista Watson at forum@prsa.org. Building a Relationship With Faculty Advisers BY ANGELA MERIEDITH WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY Just like a sports team has a coach, a PRSSA Chapter has a Faculty Adviser. Although Chapters are student-run, the presence of a supportive Faculty Adviser has a huge influence on the success of the group. But what makes a good Faculty Adviser? From my experience, an Adviser is not just the professor you run decisions by or wave to casually in the hall when running to class. Advisers should serve as a mentor, group mediator and counselor. An Adviser can even become a friend. The perfect example of this is Shelly Najor, Faculty Adviser to the Wayne State University (WSU) Chapter in Detroit. Najor is a valuable resource for our Chapter for reasons beyond the meaningful relationships she builds with us. She knows WSU and she knows public relations. Not only has she been an instructor here for over 20 years, she is a product of the very program we are in. “I love knowing that once my students leave me they are in the capable hands of alumni,” Najor said. After graduating from WSU, Najor became a graduate teaching assistant to the FALL 2016 Wayne State University PRSSA Chapter with Faculty Adviser Shelly Najor. Photo courtesy of Wayne State PRSSA. founder of our Chapter, James S. Measell, and then took over his role when he retired. She credits him with training and grooming her for this very important role within the department. “I try and create the same relationships with my students that I had with my professors,” Najor said. Najor teaches three of the core public relations courses, one of which is Fundamentals of Public Relations, the very first class public relations majors take in the WSU program. Many current PRSSA members claim that her class was the reason they decided to pursue public relations and join PRSSA. “Fundamentals of Public Relations made me realize it was more than just a lecture on a PowerPoint. The class showed me all that the field had to offer, and the gateway to that was through the resources of PRSSA,” said PRSSA member Marcella Dudek. What makes Najor so helpful is that she does more than simply advise. “It’s important that as Faculty Adviser I don’t micromanage,” Najor said. “As long as executive board members keep me in the loop, I let them do their thing. I jump in only when I know I can help or offer a bit of needed guidance.” Each year brings in a new group of PRSSA members and a new executive board that works closely with the Faculty Adviser. This has its chall enges and benefits. “Each new group has its own set of talents, skills, strengths and vulnerabilities,” Najor said. “As Faculty Adviser, it’s my job to help the team maximize the strengths while also learning to work with and adapt to the various personalities and work styles.” One component of PRSSA is how it sets students up for a successful future, whether it is through networking, internships or programming. This is where a Faculty Adviser can be an important resource. The best Advisers have been in the industry for years and know the professionals in the area. A Faculty Adviser should be an effective coach, but also their Chapter’s biggest cheerleader. The resources and guidance many Faculty Advisers offer, just like Najor, can help a PRSSA Chapter grow and prosper as a whole, but also help individual members as they transition into their careers. WWW.PRSSA.PRSA.ORG/FORUM 7