By Lauren Garczynski
Anyone who knows me is aware of my passion for all things politics. So you can imagine how ecstatic I was this summer when I had the opportunity to intern at a research and publishing non profit in the center of all things political, Washington D.C. If there was any doubt in my mind that PRSSA did not apply to the real world, it quickly vanished after my first day of work.
Networking is important, and in a big city, you can find opportunities almost anywhere
As someone who is entering her third year of being a PR major, I have constantly heard how important networking is. However, this is something that I’m not fully accustomed to yet. To my surprise, D.C. was and continues to be a stomping ground for networking opportunities. During my time there, I found that I was able to take what networking experience and knowledge I had gained through PRSSA and put it into action.
One event in particular in late July, hosted by Lauren Berger – better known as the Intern Queen, introduced a variety of panelists representing Under Armour to the Smithsonian Museums. The event was an incredible networking opportunity where I was able to exchange business cards with tons of other PR majors from across the country, including a girl from California! This was incredible, because of this networking experience, I was able to connect and share stories with someone from a state I had never even been to.
So how did PRSSA apply to my internship? Well here are a just a couple of the many ways:
For example, there was no strict dress code where I worked, while you were expected to not come in looking like a mess, this was common knowledge among the employees. One day, a representative from Women Make Movies, a nonprofit that aims to support and facilitate media made by women, showed up at the office. I always tried to dress at least business casual for work, and because of this, I was able to communicate with her without fearing that my appearance was holding me back from making a good first impression.
Luckily for me, my mentor now works in D.C. and we were able to hang out, talk about work, and do exciting city explorations such as seeing a free show at the Kennedy Center. While you can’t exactly force a mentorship, programs like PR Pals are extraordinary because it helps facilitate the initiation of that mentee/mentor relationship.
Being in Washington D.C. this summer felt like a dream, and having been a member for a while now, I can say that I’m grateful that PRSSA allowed me and possibly you to be prepared for the PR professional world.