Flashback to three years ago when a wide-eyed freshman walks into her first activity night. There were so many different options of clubs or organizations to join and they all made a strong case for recruitment. Update: that freshman was me. One of the organizations I ended up joining was the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). From the very beginning they pitched themselves as, “not a club, but a pre-professional organization,” which attracted me to their Monday night meetings. Since then, I have been able to fully realize all of the benefits this organization has given me.
By the end of my freshman year, I had the opportunity for leadership experience. I applied for the executive board and became the organization’s Public Relations Director. This meant that I was responsible for managing all of our social media accounts and generating strong and consistent content for our blog. This was invaluable experience to gain for the PR field and going into Junior year I was excited to continue to grow. That brings me to this past month (April), when I was able to be our chapter representative at the PRSSA National Assembly.
National Assembly represented the gathering of members from all PRSSA chapters internationally in Portland, Oregon. There we would vote on the next PRSSA national committee that would oversee all chapters for the 2019-2020 year. This gave me the opportunity to go to a new city and literally network from coast-to-coast! The assembly consisted of a variety of different keynote speakers and breakout sessions. We had the opportunity to talk to various chapters about what worked (and what didn’t), while simultaneously having a bigger conversation about diversity. Then, I was able to bring all of these ideas and thoughts back to the University of Delaware.
Beyond the information, I left Portland with new friendships that I would cherish. Because of the nature of the gathering, each chapter usually only sent one student. This meant that we were all in Portland alone… together. This actually made it incredibly easy to make friends. For example, I was in the elevator going to the lobby (to meet up with some other people I had met) and the guy in the elevator with me asked if I had plans with anyone yet and if I wanted to join his group.
I am sure that these relationships will extend beyond this conference both personally and professionally. Personally, we formed bonds that you can only form when traveling and exploring someplace new. Professionally, we are the future of the public relations field, so one day we will all be colleagues or competitors. Personally and professionally, we’ll get to continue building on these relationships and future conferences.
All of these relationships and experiences came from a wide-eyed freshman walking into Gore Hall for an information meeting.