As this leg of my education comes to a close, it’s time to reflect. My first semester of my senior year. I was under the impression that senior year would be a cake walk, and it has been quite the opposite. But, all that aside, I have learned a tremendous amount this semester, both in the classroom and beyond.
In my PR Research class, I successfully moderated a focus group to gain insight to my fellow students’ awareness of the USF Federal Credit Union. I say successfully because the building didn’t burn down, nobody died, and there was pizza. In all reality – the success of my focus group will remain a mystery, since most of the kids that participated didn’t say much and nodded or shook their heads a lot. That made for an interesting transcript. I say successful because despite the boring topic, people still showed up. I say successful because I learned about focus groups, and learned that I’m not really into moderating them, at least not for something like a credit union.
In my PR Issues class, I wrote a strategic plan. I created, from start to finish, a strategic plan for a fictional case, and it was amazing. I presented a case study on Margaret Sanger and her creation of Planned Parenthood and managed to exit that classroom alive after speaking on such a polarized issue.
In my PR Writing class, I started a blog, which has now morphed itself into what I have here. I also mastered Facebooking without getting in trouble. And I fine-tuned my media alerts and press releases in the process. I think I gained more experience in multi-tasking and social media in that class than I did traditional writing experience.
Outside of the classroom, the most beneficial thing I did this semester was attend PRSSA’s National Conference in Detroit in October. There, I met Penelope Trunk, who has since become a mentor of mine, and has helped me get the ball rolling on my career.
I have learned a great deal from my internship at Moffitt and after speaking with my supervisors today, we have extended my internship to go through graduation for sure, if not more after that. I really like it here, and the experience so far has been invaluable. I was putting everything I’ve written on my flash drive and I’m impressed with the quality and how it’s improving with each new release I create.
Next semester? Advanced PR. PR Design. My internship for credit, a directed reading on social media and my last two requirements for graduation will round out my schedule. I am excited, but nervous. I am looking forward to SXSW and all of the opportunities that conference will bring. I look forward to diving into social media and really getting into it and understanding it.
Until further notice, I am sleeping in, staying up late and working as much as possible so I can have lots and lots of money for SXSW.
Okay, so that is false. But I will say this, my tour of RFB Communications is making me think twice about whether or not I have additional siblings.
Sandy, a senior account executive at RFB, could very well be my long lost sister. The entire time she was talking to us about not writing crappy releases, I kept picturing myself giving the same speech in 5 years. She is where I want to be 5 years from now. Confident, obviously passionate about what she’s doing and a great speaker, I think I could learn a lot from her.
Stefanie, an account supervisor and director of social media, was a wealth of knowledge as well. She stressed the importance of social media, and presenting yourself in a professional manner on those sites. My directed reading in the spring is with the head of the PR department, and I’ve chosen social media as my area of specialty. I am very excited to get more knowledge about social media and everything it has to offer, and hopefully Stefanie will let me pick her brain about it.
Agency life. Not so shabby. They have an amazing atmosphere and I got a really great energy from the ladies that work there. Also, RFB is literally three blocks from my house, which would totally rock.
Next post: I talked to Penelope last night. I have so much work to do!
Hello world, this is my official Detroit blog. I need a break from writing a paper, so I’m writing during my writing break… Weird, but this is fun writing, not situation analysis writing ::cringes::
I wish the Conference could be summarized in a simple paragraph, or maybe even a couple of words, but that would defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?
So, in the spirit of organized thoughts, I’ll break it up into categories; travel, fun, learning, and drama. Hopefully by the time I get to the last one I’m too tired of writing about Detroit that I’ll spare you all the details, we shall see.
Well, first lesson of this trip: don’t drink the night before you’re supposed to be on a plane at 6 a.m. By the time I got done celebrating the Rays’ victory over the Phillies (the only one they would have, mind you), it was nearly 3:30. I opted to take a nap, sure as hell that my alarm would wake me in 45 minutes to get up to go to the airport. Wrong. I woke up at 5:43 a.m., 17 minutes before my plane was scheduled to take off. In a confused panic, I finished “packing” and rushed to the airport.
Too late for the 6:00 flight, obviously, I was able to get on the 7:35 flight for $50. Let the monetary punishment begin. Since I missed my plane, I was the only one getting in around 2:00, so I had to pay the $47 cab ride all by myself intead of splitting it three ways. So after the cabby doesn’t have change and the $50 for the first flight, I’m already $110 into what I planned on spending this weekend. Super.
Fortunately the ride back went off without a hitch, thus the end of the travel segment of this program.
The first night there, I went to a Detroit Redwings game with a couple of the guys from my chapter. Good times, enjoyed a few (and by few I mean several) Molsons in the Canadian spirit, wandered around Detroit, walked home (hotel) from the Greektown Casino after demolishing the best nachos to ever go down my throat, and I woke up the next morning feeling like a rockstar. I really held it down in Greektown, too bad that trend didn’t continue.
The next night was Sydney and the guys night, as we all proceeded to root the Rays to victory (or loss, whatever). We started at a really awesome sports bar, but the rain delay was boring us so by the time we got back to the hotel the game was back on.
I went to Windsor, Canada, where I roamed around aimlessly with the girls, wandering in and out of bars, shops, haunted houses (yes, I said haunted houses) and finally: Caesars Windsor. I blew $40 bucks in about 10 minutes. Damn slots. I should have learned my lesson in Vegas – but I just love the thought of getting to spin the wheel on the Wheel of Fortune machines.
And that about wraps up the fun. Everything else as far as social stuff goes was a bore.
I really did learn a lot. Not only about public relations, but about myself as well. There were three sessions that really stood out to me as far as the speakers and their message were concerned.
At the tops of my list was Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist. This woman is so no-bullshit I thought I was looking into a time machine’s mirror. She is me in 30 years. Hands down one of, if not the best speaker I’ve ever heard. Ever. So full of knowledge and so sharp – she’s my new hero. Her session was about how to package yourself and career development.
Next was the VP of Communication for Domino’s pizza. He was the shit. Same thing – straight shooter – no garbage, just the facts. His session was on crisis management – which I’m totally interested in now, by the way.
The guy from GM, the guy from Global Development or whatever, was awesome. 40 years in automotive PR, he’s a genius. That’s all I got.
I learned a lot about myself. I know how to pick my battles now (hence, not fighting back to the sass of a 19-year-old on a power trip). I know that I am very street-smart (I didn’t get mugged!). I know that I am 23 going on 35, and I embrace it. Seriously, its a blessing and a curse.
I was cringing so much this weekend.
Like when Penelope Trunk was talking and everyone was cringing every time she said “spin”. Spin, if you aren’t aware, is a no-no in PR, it’s a very bad word. People were so caught up in the word she was saying, that they completely missed the message. She was saying you need to be able to spin yourself in any situation – more in regards to being able to sell yourself, good qualities and bad, not like lying-spin. And the thing that blew my mind was, she had the professionals from PRSA all heated – they weren’t paying attention to the message either!
I was also cringing every time one of the girls started talking about their boyfriends and why they are/aren’t engaged yet. Mind you all of the girls I’m talking about are under 21. I’m 23 going on 35 and I know that I’m not even close to being ready to think about marriage yet. I still have a lot of myself to find out – let alone someone else.
I was cringing every time the guys opened their mouths. 20-something guys, well, guys under 26 for the most part, suck at life. They’re all retarded, can’t hold their liquor and are all after the same thing. I’m okay with you all being after the same thing, as long as its packaged well. But when you haven’t had the years of experience on how to package it, it’s so transparent. And I don’t like transparent. I’m not a moron – I can see it.
I guess I kinda rolled drama into the Learning segment, which is what I figured what would happen. But for the sake of talking – I still can’t stand being around massive amounts of ill-managed estrogen. I can handle women – I can’t handle girls. I can handle people with half a brain – I can’t handle girls that do anything for attention and then whine about all the attention they’re getting.
All in all, I’m not letting the age gap get in the way of what I learned this weekend. I can honestly say that I walked away from the airplane having learned something – which is better than my original expectations. I didn’t plan on making it home from this trip after everything everyone had said about Detroit. But I live to tell about it – with a few new tricks up my sleeve, so it’s a great day.
Pics will be up as soon as I get my poor computer screen fixed. Until then, LOVE YOUR FACE!
Over and out, you know you love me,
Okay so I don’t know why I waited so freaking long to join PRSSA… I guess it was a little bit of everything I went through last year with moving and relationships and all that jazz, but regardless, I joined.
Today we had the Open House meeting and there were a TON of people there. I joined the marketing committee, where I’ll hopefully be able to contribute some of what I’ve learned doing the marketing for Charley’s, and apply it to this organization.
I read up on conference and I’m trying to find plane tickets and figure out how much it’ll end up costing me – but I definitely plan on going.
What I’m most excited about out of all of this is the Bateman competition. I made it perfectly crystal clear to all of the faculty involved that I am very interested in being part of the Bateman team. How cool would it be to earn the APR credits through practical application from start to finish, not just through simulations in the classroom?? Only five students are selected, so hopefully I am one of them. Regardless, it’s an incredible opportunity, and if I’m not selected, I’ll definitely learn something in the process.
Let’s see, what else? I signed up for Pair with a Professional – a job shadowing opportunity where you get to pair up with a pro and boggle their mind with questions, get a real glimpse of what life is like in the biz and obviously, a bit more experience.
Tomorrow at 1p.m. I have an interview with the President of XFC – Xtreme Fighting Championships. Similar to UFC, but it’s founded here in Tampa, and they have a gym on Nebraska. I found the opportunity through a customer that I waited on on Friday at work, he knows Jack Glasure, head of the Glasure Group, a really awesome PR firm here in Tampa. I mentioned what I was studying in school and he said he knows a lot of people in the biz and to contact him with my resume and all that jazz. I did, and no kidding, 15 minutes later I was setting up an interview with one of the Glasure Group’s clients, XFC.
More on that after the interview!
You know you love me,