I stood in front of more than 150 PRSSA students across the country and began my speech, “Hello everyone! I’m so honored to be standing here to talk about my goals and dreams for the position as Vice President of Regional Activities.” We were in Austin, Texas for the PRSSA National Assembly. I was running against five other candidates for a role that had truly made me fall in love with public relations.
I started my journey in PRSSA as a member of the Regional Activity planning committee as a freshman and continued onto the role as Regional Activity Coordinator as a junior. The opportunity to work with PR students across the country to plan similar conferences was a dream. And that dream was made a reality as I assumed the role as National Vice President of Regional Activities.
A year later as I finish my term, I look back and am nostalgic for all the amazing times I had in this position and grateful for the opportunities it gave me to meet and work with inspirational students across the country. The most interesting part of this position is the interaction with students you never would have otherwise been in touch with. The organization has 10,000 students. That is 10,000 students with different interests, different personalities, different accents, different goals and different dreams. Some students aspire to be in a large city, and other students aspire to be in a small town. Some students aspire to work in non-profit organizations, and others aspire to work in agencies. Some studies are interested in new media, and other students are more focused on traditional media. But one thing is for sure, every student I have met has inspired me in different ways.
So for those of you who are fortunate enough to have more years in PRSSA, make the most of it. I can honestly say that my time in PRSSA has been the best part of college. Traveling around the country to different conferences to learn more about public relations and meet the future of the industry is more fulfilling than I can even put into words. Witnessing the satisfaction and excitement of the Regional Activity coordinators when they secured a speaker or a sponsor was probably just as exciting for me as it was for them. I have always loved mentoring other students, and being in this position gives you the ability to help so many more students than you even thought was possible. As a member of the National Committee, you go beyond your position. I was in charge of managing the Regional Activities, but I found myself helping students secure internships, editing resumes and cover letters and giving general career advice.
Even though being active in PRSSA can seem daunting, it ends up being so fulfilling. We may always preach about professional development and networking opportunities, but do not forget about peer networking. Your peers will one day be your colleagues and may even be your boss. Learning to work with people who are different from you will be valuable in your future career. And making those connections will not only be a way to make new friends but may lead to future job opportunities.
I know I am a bit of a PRSSA fanatic, but I have good reasons for that. Become active in your local Chapter and even on the national level. The end result will make your time spent SO worthwhile. And as I pass the torch to the next Vice President of Regional Activities, I am only excited and thrilled to see what the committee will accomplish.