What I Learned at PRSSA Nationals….

By: Emma Thibault

This year’s PRSSA National Conference was held in Washington D.C., particularly within the beautifully designed and historic Omni Shoreham Hotel! 10454297_721149577938367_2477399047638544736_n

For anyone that doesn’t know, PRSSANC is an extended weekend full of networking, keynote speakers, educational workshops, sight seeing, etc. Not to mention being in the same confines as thousands of college students that share the same love/hate relationship as you do… public relations!

I would rather not bore with you with the endless things I learned at the PRSSANC, so I will highlight the key points that have stuck with me post-conference.

  1. You’re never too young to get involved

I never admitted this, but prior to attending the National Conference I was intimidated to be going to such a professional event. I thought, “I’m only a sophomore, I barely know press releases, I don’t even know what area of PR I want to focus on, and I’m going to be with a bunch of well experienced, know-it-all, upperclassmen…” Luckily, this was not the case. In fact, I am SO grateful that I had the opportunity to attend PRSSANC.

The conference was predominantly Junior and Senior year college students who did have a lot of real-world experience under their belt. I was fortunate enough to hear some of their stories about internships, the whoopsie’s they made on the job, the connections they had, and where to get started. Hearing their advice and personal experiences was a big eye opener for myself. It allowed me to determine where I want to be when I graduate and what it will take to get to that point in my career.

I recommend taking an hour out of your day to write a career plan for yourself. Include where you currently are, and the position you want to end at when you graduate. Insert incremental goals along the way that will help you reach your desired outcome. You’d be surprised what an hour of idealizing your future can do for you.

In one of the workshops I attended one of the speakers said, “Do what you can with what you know and what you have right now.” I internalized this quote and took it to heart. Not every individual, whether they are a student or a professional, meets the criteria for a job position 100%. Heck, aren’t we going to college because we don’t know what we’re doing in the first place?

The intimidation f10653333_716170071769651_8097791320159014189_nactor is normal. If your dreams don’t intimidate you, they’re not big enough.

You have to know your strengths and weaknesses both personally and professionally. Capitalize on your strengths. Strengthen your weaknesses. You’re never too young to get involved. There is a position out there for you, you just have to find it!

  1. The sky’s the limit

If you cannot already tell, I have been on a huge motivation kick since PRSSANC J I know we have all heard that quote that has seemingly been engrained in our minds since childhood, “you can do whatever you put your mind too,” but it’s true!

At the Conference we were able to network with top business professionals from companies such as Edelman, Ketchum, Weber Shandwick, Spectrum, and General Motors just to name a few.

It was as if I was star struck being in the presence of professionals that dominate the PR industry on a global spectrum. Interestingly enough, they were in our shoes one day until something triggered that internal fire to want to be the best.

ABC’s “Good Morning America” anchor and PRSA Presenter, Amy Robach, stated, “with enthusiasm, hard work, and tenacity you will accomplish whatever you set your mind to.”

PRSSANC triggered my internal fire and I now catch myself saying that cheesy quote I’ve been hearing all my life, “sky’s the limit.”

What is your internal fire, your calling, your passions, and your fears? The world is waiting; now go show them what you got.

  1. Do What You Love, Love What You Do (And We’re Doing it Pretty Dang Well)!

One of the most rewarding experiences I took away from PRSSANC was the positive feedback about Ferris State’s PR curriculum. I cannot tell you the amount of references student’s made about their liberal arts classes, communication classes, or journalism classes. Dr. Bishop has been right all along… we have the ONLY program in the country within the College of Business. Be grateful people!

10592923_718299364890055_5459854571147688882_nThroughout the Conference professionals would mention how student’s NEED to take AIMC classes, BLAW, Accounting, and Finance in order to be successful in the industry. I am pretty sure my mouth dropped when hearing these exact words by some of the most prestigious PR professionals. It was a great feeling and sense of accomplishment to know that the stress headaches, all-nighters, doubts, and tears will be worth it.

So to everyone out there that hates on COB students, tell them to think again because us PR people are doing it pretty dang well!

In conclusion, I whole-heartedly recommend students to go to PRSSANC in 2015! Next year’s National Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, so start saving people!

Until next time,

Emma Thibault


About ferrisprssa

We speak the truth with compassion. We embrace diversity in all forms. We are innovative, creative, upbeat and engaged. We are the Ferris State University PRSSA Chapter! Our student-run PR firm gives students outstanding hands-on experience and professional training.
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