By: Brittanie Chludzinski
If you take a look at my agenda, you will see that each day is planned to a tee. I have bullet points on my checklist encouraging me to make another checklist, and there’s a plethora of sticky notes hanging all over my bedroom with various reminders. I will admit, most things never go as planned, but I find comfort in organizing my life and being prepared for what’s coming next.
I started my journey at MSU as a no-preference major with very little sense of direction. I had no idea what career path I wanted to pursue, and this terrified me! It was the first time in my life that I didn’t have a plan. I was an overwhelmed and confused student who was desperately searching for a field that would make me happy.
I found most of my “exploratory” classes to be interesting, but it was my first PR class that really peaked my curiosity and motivated me to learn more. I eventually declared a journalism major and a PR minor, but my understanding of public relations was still not 100% clear.
Sure, I was learning how to write press releases and fact sheets in the introductory courses, but I didn’t recognize the true power and value of PR. Besides, would producing media kits, strategizing with clients, and planning events really make me happy? I was learning so much about the field, but I had only skimmed the surface.
When I finally learned about PRSSA, I showed up to one of the Tuesday night meetings when Danielle Robinson from Jackson National Life Insurance happened to be the speaker. Instead of hearing the usual PR spiel that my professors shared in the classroom, I walked away with an entirely new perspective on public relations.
Danielle’s enthusiasm for PR was contagious and the expertise she shared as the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager introduced me to a new aspect of the field that I didn’t know existed! I was surprised (and excited) to learn that I could potentially have a career that combined my interest in community service with my skills as a writer and communicator. How cool is that?!
After that first meeting, I was hooked. My limited view of the field quickly expanded as I was introduced to PR opportunities within corporations, sports and even the entertainment industry. Hearing directly from these PR professionals provided some clarity and helped me identify my new career goals.
With my new understanding of the industry, I have been able to position myself as an aspiring PR professional in past and present jobs. Last spring, I worked as a web writer for the MSU Neighborhood Engagement Centers, in which I wrote blog posts for the website and promoted various resources. I wanted to gain more out of this experience, so I started taking on new PR-focused projects and responsibilities with my supervisor’s permission (Trust me, your boss will not turn down your request for more assignments).
As a result, I transitioned into a new role of writing press releases, creating brand awareness and developing/launching new communication plans. By applying these skills that I learned in PRSSA, I have been able to find more fulfillment in my various positions and better prepare myself for future PR jobs and internships. Not to mention, it has helped to significantly boost my resume by replacing the vague role of “Web Writer” with the title of “Communications Associate.”
Last fall, I would have never imagined being a PRSSA eboard member or having so much confidence in my pursuit of a PR internship. PRSSA has offered me so many opportunities, and so much room to grow. By acting on my curiosity and following my passion for public relations, I have finally found a career that makes me truly happy.
If there’s one thing I have learned during the past two and a half years of college, it’s this: You don’t need to have everything figured out right now. As long as you respond to the things that excite you, the right opportunities will follow and your career will start to naturally take shape.
It turns out that not having a plan gives you freedom to find the sense of direction you have always been looking for.