Once upon a time a young woman drove 200 miles to step into Helen Ferris hall as a Ferris State University Music Industry Management student. But this fairy tale doesn’t have an evil step-mother or a ferocious dragon, just a naïve kid trying to figure out how to make it to commencement with minimal damage.
I switched into Public Relations during my second year by falling into the same trap that so many other students find themselves in—Dr. Bishop’s Principles of Public Relations class. Whatever “used-car-salesman magic” Dr. B possess had me switching into PR by the end of the semester and ecstatic to join the Public Relations program family.
I am finishing after three years at Ferris but the past 133 credits have felt disturbingly long at times. For all the current and future PR peeps out there, you do not need to come into this incredible family unprepared. I’ve composed a short list to help you succeed in the PR program. I proudly present my PR tool kit:
- Watch. It’s pretty standard practice in the business building to see students in the classroom 10 or 15 minutes before class actually starts. As a PR student you will be held to the same standard—if not higher. Be prepared to arrive to Dr. Bishop’s classes early every day. Eventually, you’ll actually want to be there early. That’s when all the best jokes are told and awesome bonding happens. Plus, the Starbucks line is almost never long.
- Support. We are all stressed. Every single one of us is feeling the pressure but we often forget that. You are not alone. Even if you feel like your PREL 341 lab grade was the worst and you’re never going to finish your campaign in time—seriously, we are all thinking the exact same thing. Find some sidekicks to vent to every once in a while and remind each other that everything is going to be alright.
- Fuel. I am ashamed to admit that I spent 85% of my college career drinking energy drinks and coffee. Don’t be surprised to see 3 to 10 PR students in the Starbucks line before PRSSA meetings because it’s safe to say—we’re big fans. Whether it’s coffee, exercise, Reese’s peanut butter cups, or high fives, find something to help you get through the day. This program can be challenging and frustrating, but it is worth it.
- Peeps. We have two really awesome resources in the PR program: Dr. Bishop and each other. It’s easy to stress about making connections in the real world but don’t forget that you have friends and peers that have connections too. One of the greatest parts about being in this program is that there are PR students already doing amazing things and they can help you do amazing things too.
- Fearlessness. Ferris is a reasonably sized campus. There are students and faculty everywhere making things happen. These people need help. Take the time to adventure outside of your comfort zone. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve been able to add to my resume just from being adequately prepared and showing up.
With just a handful of classes left, I am sad to be leaving Ferris and the PR program. I feel incredibly lucky to be graduating with an amazing group of seniors that happily accepted me into their posse. I could not have imagined a better place to grow and flourish than in Dr. Bishop’s classes.
As to whether this fairy tale will end with a happily ever after, I am not sure. But at this point in the story I feel confident knowing that I love what I do.