Here’s a great blog post from a PR student at Florida State University about some fun ways to keep busy over the holiday break. Take a look below and see more of her posts at laurennovo.wordpress.com!
“This post is for students (me, included) who are finishing up final exams and anxiously anticipating a stress-free Holiday Break. No more homework, exams, papers and projects for a whole month! Maybe you are a senior and this is your last extended vacation before hitting the “real world.” Perhaps you are a freshman, homesick as ever, and can’t wait to invest some overdue time with the family. Some of you might even be graduating this week (congrats!) and are thrilled to be putting away the books for good.
Preposterous as this might sound, what if we dedicate at LEAST a portion of our break to something productive? No really, think about it. All semester long, we Tweet and Facebook about how we can’t wait until the end; how much we wish we could just read something for pleasure or write something that doesn’t include tedious formatting.
I don’t know about you, but I am incapable of completely “checking out” once I complete my last final. Sure, it’s fun to be lazy for a couple days…but then I just get bored. Maybe this year, we can all make a Pre-New Years resolution list of some things we’d like to accomplish.
No idea where to start? I have a few suggestions:
Start a Blog: I won’t lie. Starting a blog in the middle of a jam-packed semester was not necessarily my most strategic move; however, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Blogging provides the opportunity to write without deadlines (though you should stick to at least a self-imposed schedule); to share your thoughts in a unique outlet; to challenge yourself to learn more about your industry; and to see firsthand how PR is evolving. So what are you waiting for? You have a month! Create a free wordpress account (or whatever else suits your fancy), find/design a pertinent theme, brainstorm several topics to get you on track and start writing!
Invest in Blogger Relations: You don’t have to be a blogger to have a blogroll. Do you subscribe to any blogs in particular? Do you actively seek posts written by certain professionals or students? Or do you even just search keywords and read whatever appears in the results? Regardless of your process, you clearly read blogs from time to time (you are reading mine after all). But let me ask: how often do you engage with the bloggers? I’ll admit to this as well: I read, suck up all the info I can…and then run. I rarely take the time to actually leave a comment. Sometimes I’ll share the blog on Twitter, but that’s about it. We should all spend part of December developing a list of blogs to subscribe to and then make an effort to actually create relationships with the bloggers.
Read that industry book everyone has been talking about: The only book I’ve made time for this semester is “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations” by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge. Every page has been a treat. I can’t wait to finish it and start some new ones. I’ve heard great things about “Trust Agents” and “Crush It.” What is on your reading list? What should I add to mine?
Make your PR portfolio: The monthly #PRStudChat taught me a lot about what a good portfolio entails. It should encompass a range of your work (releases; social media experience; op-eds; communication plans; graphic design experience; etc.), yet be tailored to fit the needs of the job in which you are applying. Not applying anywhere yet? No problem! Make a comprehensive portfolio of everything you’ve done and achieved so that you can pick and choose from it later. Already have a portfolio? Consider making an online version. This will make it easier to showcase your talent/experience to non-local employers as well as highlight your design capabilities.
Study for the GRE: I struggled for a while over whether I should go to grad school right out of the gate or attain some experience first. Experience won, but that doesn’t mean I have to shove the GRE books in the closet. As students, we’re still in study mode. If grad school is something you might be interested in at some point, it will be less painful to take it now than down the road. And the perk: scores remain active for a few years!
Career Shadow: Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean the pros are too. Find someone to shadow for a day or two. Or better yet, create your own “career week” and shadow someone new every day. Whom to shadow? Have you established any relationships via social media with local pros? Do you have any contacts through networking events? Can your PR teacher recommend someone who might be interested? If not, there’s always the option to make a few phone calls to nearby agencies/companies and take a shot. And you never know, they might actually want some temporary help! Interns are typically gone in December so employers might be short-handed.
What am I missing? Do you have any great t0-do items that should be included on my list?”