By Nicole Zahn
When students enter college, their first thought may be that they will be taking classes and doing school work….and that’s all. For some students, this may be the case; however, it may not be what’s best.
If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout my three years at Kent State is to GET INVOLVED. I cannot express how important this small piece of advice can benefit a student in the future.
For public relations students, our potential employers want to see our resumes filled with hands-on learning and experiences. They want to see that you did much more than simply go to class, study, pass an exam and eat Chipotle. They want to see that you utilized university resources available to you and took the initiative to get your foot in the door.
Not sure how to become involved? Follow these few tips:
Step outside your comfort zone
By doing this, you’re opening the door to a world of opportunities for yourself. My first week at Kent State I was eager to learn, meet new people and find out what this school had to offer. As fearless as this may sound, I wondered how I would eventually find my niche. I told myself to get my butt out the door and go join something! I auditioned for TV2 (nearly cried because I had no clue how to be a meteorologist) and to my surprise, became a news anchor. After that, everything was a breeze. I joined PRSSA, took on leadership roles, joined dance teams, and much more. Once I broke out of my shell and stepped up to each plate, I met more people and became known throughout JMC. If you want to break out of your shell, you can! Don’t be afraid because college is the time to meet new people and join new things.
Network, Network, Network
It’s not always about simply meeting people, it’s about continuing the relationships with those you meet. Meeting new people is the number one way to find new opportunities. Attend career fairs, go to networking events (Communications Connection and YouToo Social Media Conference are right around the corner!), join clubs even if you think they may not be for you because you never know who you will meet. I never really cared for career fairs because I’ve always thought “there are over 500 students here how could I ever stand out?!” but I decided to go last year and guess what…I now have an internship with FedEx! I also met the HR coordinator for the marketing agency, AKHIA, at a networking event and never thought much of it afterward. One day, I decided to reach out to her for a simple coffee. I now have a connection who checks up on me and informs me about upcoming job shadow or internship opportunities. Many students receive jobs and internships just by making connections and staying in contact with those connections.
Freshman can be leaders too
Just because it is your first year in college does not mean older students are any better than you are. We are all on our own paths at our own paces. My freshman year I ran for VP of Fundraising with no background of fundraising or event planning. I just wanted to learn more and not sit in the corner of a beneficial organization. After giving my nervous speech, I was elected the position and could not believe it. From then on, it’s as if more and more opportunities and tasks came my way just from that one decision. Taking on a leadership role sets you apart from many of your peers because you show that you have a willingness to learn and grow. You will stand out to your professors and learn more about your major outside of the classroom at an early stage.
I can truly say I’m grateful for every opportunity that has come my way. If I never joined PRSSA, went to Blastoff, joined dance teams, or applied for leadership roles, I wouldn’t have made half the connections I’ve formed. Always accept opportunities and tasks even if they don’t seem like they will be beneficial. By doing this, you will meet people, stand-out among your peers and professors, and most importantly, have the experience and skills to add to your resume for a stronger future.