When you’re in a room full of students, professionals and professors it is assumed that students want to connect with superiors. It’s almost a competition for the attention of professionals. Who can get the most business cards or who can hand out the most resumes. However, I think too often we get caught up in the politics, and don’t network with who might matter most…our peers.
This past week, eight members of the MSU PRSSA e-board traveled south to Atlanta, Georgia for PRSSA National Conference. This is the largest professional development session offered for students in public relations, and the networking opportunities are invaluable. Speakers from all over the world came to share their advice, tips and tricks with us budding PR professionals. One major takeaway from this conference was how to make the most of networking with your peers.
The first day of conference, there was a breakout session for directors of student-run PR firms. We separated into small groups and brainstormed ideas with firm directors from Alabama to California – what an eye-opening experience! I am following up with other directors and following them on social media to continue sharing our experiences.
I made great connections with students from around the country, but Michigan was definitely one of the most represented states at the conference. There were at least six chapters from Michigan and we all showed our Mitten Pride! MSU E-board was able to connect with our neighboring schools, and have made lasting relationships. Right now, we’re collaborating with Wayne State University to plan regional conference. For the latest on the conference, please follow us on Twitter.
At a networking event during National Conference, I looked around the room and had a surreal feeling that these would be my co-workers, bosses or employees one day. I could work for the PRSSA student from West Virginia that I met in the elevator. Or I could hire the freshman that I was introduced to over dessert. We tend to ignore those around us and want to talk to the people with the most “power.” I think that we are the power, we are the next generation of PR professionals diving into the real world.
Next time you’re at a networking event, spend a little more time chatting with other students. Take a good look around at the other #PRStars in the room, exchange business cards and make lasting connections with your peers.