What’s With All the Nerves? PR + Graphic Design Internship First Day – Before, During, and After

What It’s All About:
Learning that Public Relations and Graphic Design go hand in hand was something I had to sit with for a while. As someone who had no clue what they wanted to do until the last month of their junior year, it was a lot more daunting than my other impulse interest. Graphic Design was something I could sit with overnight. If I was obsessed with an idea enough I could make it a reality quickly. I once made three different posters for a Drag bingo event at Arcadia University in 30 minutes after getting tipsy at a Harry Potter-themed bar in Philly. And the people who I was designing for LOVED it. My point is that public relations was this whole other beast that I had no idea how to tackle. I still have no idea about it. But I knew I needed to, which is why I applied for the internship I did.

The Internship:
The internship I applied for was one with Salus University’s Department of Communications. I have no clue what it is I am doing for them but I know it has something to do with digital marketing. I have a little experience with that, as I’ve taken classes that have breached that topic one way or another, however, I feel like there are so many terms that could mean virtually the same thing. And that may seem offensive to those who know they aren’t the same thing, But to me, It feels like I get a word bank and these terms are described as the questions and I get them confused on the test and fail. It’s dramatic, I know but I believe this anxiety will plague me until I take my first steps into the building of this internship. Until someone can tell me that I am right where I need to be, I won’t believe it’s the right path for me. And I feel like that’s the issue with a lot of folks in my position. The first mountain to hike is even getting an internship and the second mountain is finding one that feels right.

The Night Before:
As the hands on the clock approach my bedtime for my first day, I sit and wonder what I need to prepare for this internship. I can’t say I am completely lost. I emailed the person who hired me and she told me I don’t need anything. Which is equally as comforting as it is blinding. I am going in semi-blind. I know what the job entails but does it entail business casual attire? Does it entail a lunch break? Does it entail getting my car towed because I don’t have the parking pass yet? It’s these little things that would seem silly to ask an employer but questions new employees have nonetheless. I think that’s how I know I’m in the right place. I’m not nervous about the work at all. Because I know I can get it done. I know I can complete work I am proud of.

The Morning of:
Because I planned out my semester so I wouldn’t have to wake up for anything, I also had the luxury of choosing when I wanted to have my internship. So of course, I chose to go in at 12:00 and leave at 3:00. I felt like this was a happy medium and also I do my best work when I have time to warm up as a human.
I Still Wasn’t Nervous About The Job. It was starting to set in that I had one and I had to be professional. But it wasn’t something that would scare me away from it all. My supervisor emailed me her number so that I had someone to walk me through the building which was so nice. I remember driving to Starbucks at 4:40 in the morning for my first shift and not even knowing where the back door was so, this was a nice upgrade.

Sitting in The Chair:
Similarly to syllabus week, it was a whole bunch of information thrown at me. Between new program names and new tricks on old programs, it was a lot to carry. But soon it was a piece of cake. I understood most of what I was doing and the things I didn’t I was able to figure out. It was a very awesome experience going into a job that I knew generally what I was meant to complete.

I’m super excited about this internship and what it could teach me in my field. As someone who didn’t know they wanted to do PR and still doesn’t know if they want to do PR, this first day was kind of perfect. I know this won’t be the case for all internships and interests. I was talking to my supervisor about this particular task field and she was saying how it’s easier to find things you don’t want to do as opposed to things you want to do. And I couldn’t agree more. I feel like my whole college career was just going through the motions of things I didn’t want to do. And now that I am here it feels weird to be nervous about the things I was nervous about. But yet it all makes sense.

Why You Should Join 1853Communications

Launched in 2020, 1853 Communications was created by 10 students at Arcadia
University. We are a student-run public relations agency at Arcadia University, currently applying
to be nationally certified. We were built on the inspiration of taking a community-driven, modern
approach to help brands reach their full potential. Our goal is to make connections between
clients and audiences, and to grow our experiences alongside the community. Our agency is
open to students of all majors! Here is why you should take advantage of this opportunity and
join our agency.

Hands On Experience with Clients
Unlike other classroom settings where you are learning how to work with future clients, we
actually have a clientele! Clients come to us in need of our services. You will be able to learn
skills that you can further apply in internships and professional work. You will be able to grow
alongside classmates who facilitate fresh perspectives, within a real firm setting. This is the
closest you will get to being a professional while still being a student!

Strengthen your Resume and Portfolio
One of the hardest tasks when leaving college is creating a resume and portfolio that is
interview ready. Though you have completed hundreds upon hundreds of classwork
assignments, it is not always what employers may be expecting. Our agency takes on multiple
projects each semester, teaming up with well-known non-profit organizations and companies in
the area. Each and every student works on the tasks at hand for these organizations, giving you
an opportunity to happily show off your work. For example, here is what my resume looks like
since I joined the agency in 2020.

Building Your Network
As many of us are learning, networking is a huge part of your college experience! Not only will
you be able to make connections with other members of the agency, but you’ll be exposed to
guest speakers, as well as clients! The agency has 1-3 guest speakers per semester, who share
their insights in the communications world and their contact information. The agency provides
you with connections that can lead to future careers!
Tip: Remember, you are sitting beside connections in your classroom everyday! The student
next to you may be the future CEO of a company, or a journalist… Take advantage of this and
network, network, network!

Role exploration
1853 Communications allows all of their members to choose what they would like to work on
when it comes to projects. Whether that is event management, social media management,
content creation, press releases, you have the opportunity to learn! You will never be tied down to one role. This way, you have the opportunity to explore your options, gain experience, and
really see what you enjoy doing with your talents.

Our agency is always looking for new individuals eager to learn. Sign up for Fall of 2022 while
seats are still open!


The PRSSA: A Useful Tool to Public Relations Students

Transitioning from college to career can be a daunting journey. Many students are unaware of what opportunities are out there for them and are unsure of how to get there. One resource that has proven to be a helpful tool in this journey is the PRSSA. It’s resources like these that aid in college education, to advance our capabilities beyond the classroom. Mentioned below are just a few of the powerful assets that I have found by joining the PRSSA.

Find Internships and Jobs

One useful tool that can directly benefit your future in Public Relations is obtaining an internship or straight-up job experience. The PRSSA has a search engine solely catering to its members, where employers will be hiring. These applications are often less competitive than other popular search engines, and will have you working with people in the organization. This exclusivity can lead to better experiences, with stronger learning outcomes.

Find Scholarships

Paying for that education and all those great experiences is not easy, and PRSSA knows that. Being a member opens the doors for countless amounts of scholarships that are easy to apply for, and fit a range of different qualifications and needs. These are all found on their website, and are only available to members, which makes them less competitive than usual.

Join Events and Meet New People

What better way to kickstart your career than getting to meet people that are already doing what you’re inspiring to do? Joining in on the copious amounts of events that the PRSSA holds, opens you up to networking with career professionals, and learning from their advice. Such a network system is truly one of the greatest aspects of being a member. It would not be as possible to obtain such enhancing experiences, without being part of an organization that promotes interaction between members. Not only is it advancing your network with people already in the field, but also making connections with other students, which are a great support system in college to grow with.

In Conclusion

This is just my perspective as a student, having been part of a newer chapter of the organization and getting to experience all of the benefits. Having some sort of outlet to advance your college experiences into a career is such a smart step that I’m glad I took. There are so many resources for students to have on hand, through the PRSSA.

Crisis Comms: Think About It!

The COVID-19 pandemic has come on suddenly and unexpectedly, and there isn’t a company in the world that isn’t changing course in one way or another. This kind of out-of-left-field crisis is the kind of thing that crisis communicators specialize in, but not every organization properly values this kind of expertise. It’s not just organizations either – many professional and student communicators don’t have the experience or interest in the field of crisis management. Let me pitch you on why you should consider specializing in crisis communications.

Let’s just start with the facts. Not everyone is suited for crisis work. It’s high-pressure, high-risk work. If you get it all wrong, like say, Tony Hayward of British Petroleum (Links to an external site.), you risk turning a crisis into a series of crises that enrage shareholders and cost you your job. A level head and creative problem solving are non-negotiable aspects of the field. If you have trouble working under pressure or tend to get thrown off your game easily, it may not be the best idea to look for crisis work. 

On the other hand, if you’re at your best when your back is to the wall, then you might have a specialization on your hands. A good thing about crisis work is that it’s often not the only role of your job – day-to-day communications work will be most of the job, but being a part of the crisis management team not only makes your position more diverse, but it also makes you less replaceable. You get to have real, tangible problems to solve, you create your own job security (f you do it well!), and most of all, you get to prove your worth to the organization, which can be a real struggle to communicators at times. It may not be fun to work 24/7 during a major crisis, but it gives a purpose and direction to your role.

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