In my first meeting as a member of the PRSSA Texas Christian University Chapter, I remember being told that membership would help me grow personally and professionally as I prepared for my career in public relations. As I’m now enjoying an exciting tenure as the summer intern at PRSA headquarters in New York City, I realize I had no idea how true that statement would ultimately prove to be.
On a personal level, my involvement in PRSSA gave me confidence and strength in my professional abilities that I would not have realized on my own. This was due to the encouragement of my Chapter Adviser, Dr. Amiso George. Her belief in my abilities as a student and future professional gave me the confidence to write, submit and publish a research essay in a refereed business journal. Despite my initial fear of submitting the work, it resulted in the opportunity to attend an international conference, network with dozens of public relations professionals and overcome my fear of public speaking. I took a risk I wouldn’t have otherwise taken, thanks solely to Dr. George’s guidance and encouragement.
On a professional level, my involvement in PRSSA gave me the most hands-on, real-world experience I had during my entire time as a student. In 2010 I participated in the Bateman Case Study Competition. With few team members and seemingly limited resources, I took on the varied roles of media relations manager, Web content developer, writer and editor for our final campaign report.
At what was perhaps the climax of my collegiate career, I decided to apply for the PRSA/PRSSA internship award, a 12-week paid internship program at PRSA headquarters in New York City. As I prepared for my interview and later received news of having received the award, I realized the true extent to which PRSSA had influenced my academic experience, and now even my post-college career. Personally it gave me the opportunity for increased inner confidence and strength of character, which must have come through in my interview. Professionally, assets like receiving an honorable mention in the Bateman Case Study Competition made me a well-rounded candidate, diversifying my experience and allowing me to better articulate my abilities.
So my advice to all members of PRSSA would be this: While it may sound cliché, it is true that PRSSA can help prepare you for your future in public relations. Embrace it, take advantage of it, and believe it.
What PRSSA experiences have best prepared you for your career?
Megan McGuire recently graduated from Texas Christian University’s Schieffer School of Journalism with a degree in advertising and public relations. She is currently serving as a public relations intern at PRSA/PRSSA headquarters in New York City before seeking a full-time public relations position in the fall.