Flexibility is arguably one of the most important qualities that a public relations professional can have. A PR professional must be responsive to changes in the news while generating content that captures these ever-changing stories. A professional must also be flexible in regard to changes in the workplace. I have recently come to appreciate the trait of flexibility after my spring 2021 internship abruptly ended.
After landing my first public relations internship, I contained emotions of happiness with a hint of nerves. Months prior, I managed the social media for five Middle-Tennessee Pilates studios. However, this new internship required different skills than the work I did for these studios.
My internship was with a local PR agency that specializes in brand management, marketing strategy and content creation. I met my supervisor in person once, then the rest of my time at the internship was virtual. As the social media manager intern, my client was a Kentucky film company. I followed a content calendar on Airtable, scheduled posts on Hootsuite, monitored brand mentions, discovered industry related keywords and threads and engaged with others in the community. I dedicated around six hours per week to managing the social media for the company. I listened in on Zoom meetings with the CEO of the film company and my supervisor. In these meetings I gained valuable insight on how the content for social media was created using a GOST (Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Tactics) analysis. It was amazing to see what I learned in my public relations classes come to life. I thought everything was running smoothly, and then the film company decided not to renew their contract with the agency I worked for.
Within one day, I went from scheduling posts to being without an internship. I felt lost, confused and stressed knowing that I still had 40 internship hours to complete before the semester was over. This change has taught me the value of flexibility. In the PR industry, you have to be prepared for change that can happen in an instant. I had no control over my internship coming to an end prematurely, but I did have control over how I would react to this change. Thanks to the amazing professionals in Belmont’s PR department, I am working on some written assignments that will count towards my hours needed to complete my internship.
While a month ago I could not have anticipated that I would not have an internship anymore. I have chosen to view this experience as a blessing and opportunity to learn instead of viewing it as an inconvenience. I am thankful for this experience because it prepared me for the uncertainties of the real world. You can think you have a plan for your life, but in reality, you are not in control. You must be flexible and ready to take on new challenges at any moment..
Brooke Elliott is a junior at Belmont University studying public relations and economics. Elliott has lived in Nashville her entire life, and in her free time she enjoys going on hikes, driving on backroads and spending time with friends and family. After graduation, Elliott hopes to work as the public relations coordinator for any up-and-coming beauty brand. Connect with Elliott on LinkedIn.