By: Mackenzie Mohr, Account Associate

Music and pre-medicine student Colleen Osak and music and pre-dental student Patrick Cooper enjoy themselves in the sunshine. Photo credit: Mackenzie Mohr

Spring break is a time away from the all-familiar patterns of college life. Whether students jet off to exotic coastlines, drive home for the week, or even stick around campus, everyone enjoys time away from their grueling academic schedules.

Because students want to escape their inevitable academic woes for a few days, many students seek only bronzed suntans and beach-blown hair during spring break. However, spring break also is a great time to explore potential career paths and investigate job opportunities while still in school and after graduation.

Upon realizing the job shadow potential of spring break, I called upon a past instructor from the public relations program at Michigan State. After a brief email correspondence, I was lined up to experience everyday public relations firsthand. I woke Tuesday morning, dressed professionally, and made sure to bring along a pen and paper for note taking.

My appointment that day was at 9 a.m. with local public relations professional Robert Kolt, the president and CEO of Kolt Communication, Inc. Upon arrival at the office, located only a few miles southeast of East Lansing, I was welcomed by a receptionist and was given a tour of the facility by Kolt shortly after.

Map detail by Mackenzie Mohr. Source: Google Maps

He introduced me to his colleagues and shared with me the current goings-on of the workplace ranging from local industry drama to new business. I shadowed Kolt as he dealt with morning office tasks such as email drafting and employee management.

Kolt took me to a board meeting for the Michigan Nurses Foundation where I sat in on discussion and was able to participate and assist the members as they updated their scholarship system. This aspect of the job is community involvement, which he expressed is crucial to area networking and opening the door for potential business opportunities.

We then visited Robin Miner-Swartz, the Director of Communications for the Capitol Region Community Foundation at the recently renovated Marshall Street Armory to discuss a meeting that had been held earlier in the day.

I had lunch with Kolt and Narine Manukova, the advertising and marketing director of at the firm, in a cozy conference room where we discussed recent business as well as possible internship opportunities.

This experience helped my understanding of daily activities in the world of public relations, but more importantly, it increased my public relations professional network while opening doors to future employment.

What job shadow experiences have you had? Let us know what you learned in the comments below.

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