New Professionals Panel: Advice on the Transition from School to Workplace [National Conference Session Recap]

PRSSA member Adam Piccin networking at the PRSSA 2015 National Conference Career Exhibition.
PRSSA member Adam Piccin networking at the PRSSA 2015 National Conference Career Exhibition.

Event: Transition to the Real World (Hosted by the New Professionals Section)

Presenters: Hilary Jurinak, Communications Coordinator at Binny’s Beverage Depot

Brian Price, Assistant Account Executive at Edelman

JR Rochester, Digital Media Strategist at AAA Carolinas

Moderated by Jessica Noonan, an Associate at Burson-Marsteller.

Recap: Four former PRSSA National Committee members held a Q & A discussion on the transition from student to professional, sharing tips and advice they learned through their experiences.

Price, who said a friend from PRSSA helped him get his current position, emphasized the importance of networking and remaining connected with other PRSSA students. The importance of the PRSSA network was brought up again by Rochester, who gained experience at an internship through a connection to PRSSA.

The panel emphasized utilizing mentorship relationships to aid in the student-to-professional transition, pointing out that students need to step up and ask a professional for their time. “The great thing about being a student is that now is the time to ask questions,” said Rochester. All four panelists agreed that students need to be more proactive in asking mentors for advice.

When asked what advice they would give to their 21-year-old selves, they had some useful responses. “I would say to save all of the money you can,” replied Junk. Rochester said he wished he had been more confident in himself because he had the skills, he just needed to feel more secure. Price mentioned keeping up with his network again, and Noonan said, “Step back and make sure you’re doing what you really want to do.”


  • Be confident in yourself and your skills, whether you are on the job search or are trying to make your mark in the workplace.
  • Stay connected with your network or they will no longer be your network. Don’t wait until you are looking for a job to get in touch, tweet and email them to re-connect.
  • Find out what your passion is and search for a company or business that matches up with what you want to do.
  • Don’t expect to skip to the top. You will have to start at the bottom and work hard to show your value.
  • Keep your head up when the job search doesn’t go the way you wanted it to. You will probably be rejected but instead of getting down, use those moments as learning experiences.

Lauren Turner is a graduate student at the University of Memphis studying public relations and journalism. She is a freelance journalist at High Ground News, an online Memphis publication, and a part-time photographer. See her business at and her stories compiled at Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *