When I started my college education at Boston University, I knew I wanted to be a public relations major. I immediately became involved in PRSSA, working in particular with Regional Activities (now known as Regional Conferences). I eventually became President of my Chapter, then Vice President of Regional Activities on the National Committee. I considered PRSSA the best part of my college experience. There was no question that I would join PRSA upon graduation.
However, transitioning from PRSSA to PRSA can be a bit more daunting than it seems. You are not just around your peers anymore; you are around colleagues who often have much more experience than you. Events are not just a social event, but a networking experience.
So how can you make this transition easier?
There are ways to make this large organization seem smaller. PRSA has Sections for just about every segment you can think of. If you are an independent practitioner, there is a Section. If you are interested in the corporate sector, there is a Section. Local Chapters often have their own groups, however, if your local Chapter does not have one, you can create one like I did for young professionals. You will find that PRSA Chapters are always looking to help their members achieve their goals and they will be more than happy to help your new group hit the ground running.
PRSA is built on the same structure as PRSSA, so you already have knowledge of how to get things done. In PRSSA, you learned how to communicate within your Chapter, work with others in the organization and act in a professional, courteous manner. The same skills are necessary to accomplish your tasks in PRSA.
When you were in PRSSA, you networked with professionals in PRSA. As a young professional, the same applies. Introduce yourself to new people at various events. Ask for advice and guidance from mentors.
There are many opportunities to give back to your local PRSSA Chapter. That is where your roots are, so why not continue to be active? As a PRSSA member, you met PRSA members who wanted to help you grow in your career. The role is now reversed as you become a professional and have the chance to help students.
Remember what made you join PRSSA. Remember why you want to stay involved by becoming a part of PRSA. Remember what you love in public relations. The rest will all come naturally.
What do you think are the toughest parts of transitioning from a student to professional? How are you planning to transition to PRSA?
Rachel Sprung is an Events Coordinator in the Marketing department at HubSpot. Rachel is an active member of PRSA Boston. She co-founded PRSA Boston’s Young Professional Network and is also part of the PRSSA liaison committee. Rachel is a graduate of Boston University, and served on the PRSSA 2010-2011 National Committee as vice president of Regional Conferences. You can find her blogging at Rachel Sprung On PR or tweeting @RSprung.