It’s been an interesting 18 months.
I started my Journalism and Public Relations joint honours degree with a very different idea of what I was getting myself in for. I rather fancied a career as a Kiwi Samantha Jones*. I have since learnt that there is a more to PR than meets the eye. Oh yes. It is not all launch parties and “networking” events (although these do go hand in hand with the industry) but there is a lot of theory to consider. Who would have thought it?
I now have a better understanding of this theory, but I don’t think we have begun to properly scratch the surface of what PR entails. My previous administration job in the communications industry has provided real world examples to help my understanding of the theory and given something to relate it to. This has been invaluable to my educational development.
It has not all gone swimmingly though. Richard Bailey, our lecturer, considered some of our class “experiments” to be disasters. Personally, the lessons outweighed the issues, so I cannot consider them disasters. Our class collectively attempted to write a book review, and had a twitter chat with one of the emerging leaders of PR. I think that the “experiments” fostered a creative dynamic within the class that was a safe learning environment, so we all (Richard included!) could learn from each other, and more importantly make mistakes.
Being able to make mistakes is crucial to our PR development. By exposing ourselves to an element of risk it means that if we do make mistakes, we are able to learn from them and avoid making the same mistakes in future. I believe this is why Richard asked us to create our own public blog. So we can experiment for ourselves. Get ourselves out there. Give ourselves the platform to showcase our skills and learn by doing.
I’ve found having my own blog to be challenging. I never considered myself to be a writer, and when I realised that the number one key skill for a career in PR is the ability to write, I got a little worried.
But I have surprised myself. In a little over a year in addition to starting this blog I have written news stories, a couple of feature stories and I even managed to win a student award from the NUJ (National Union of Journalists). And now *shock horror* I actually enjoy it. My main issue now is figuring out what to write about….
Making the decision to come back to university as a – dare I say it? – “mature” student was not one that I took lightly. This would mean some big changes. Now that I am halfway through the course, I know it was the right decision. I am most looking forward to getting my hands on some practical work and seeing PR in action in the real world.
So, do I fancy myself a Samantha Jones still? Not really, although I admit I’d love to pilfer her wardrobe. These days I’d much rather follow in the footsteps of inspiring leaders such as Sarah Pinch and Gini Dietrich. But I’ve got a long way to come if I intend to do that.
Thank goodness I still have another 18 months of university to go.
*TV’s Sex and the City
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