On Monday, I left my dorm thrilled at the prospect of being involved in our PRSSA’s Digital Media team. A self-professed news junkie, I was excited to be surrounded by like-minded peers who share the same love of PR, current events, and of course, social media. As we got down to business, I was in awe of all the experienced upperclassmen who could whip off a list of their impressive jobs, experiences, and enviable summer internships. Me, I just started a blog this summer and can not even name one PR firm in Boston. With intimidation running high, it would have been easy to have just slink out of the meeting and never return, but if I learned anything before coming to college (and trust me, I think I’ve already had an existential crisis during these first weeks of college where I questioned everything I knew about life so far) you must not be afraid to seize opportunities.
At the end of the meeting, I rounded my way around the room to meet our chapter’s president, Julian – probably the nicest person you’ll ever meet – it somehow spilled out of my mouth that I had my own blog. At the end of the conversation, she invited me to volunteer at a branding event by PRSA in downtown Boston to hear some professional speakers talk about personal branding. As I walked home in a state of pure bliss, it suddenly sunk in that I had (a) only taken the “T” once in my life, and (b) I had never even been to a PR event, let alone volunteer at one. I didn’t even want to think of a (c); what had I just done?
Two days later, I found my way around the Financial District to Digitas, one of Boston’s biggest advertising firms, which was hosting the event. I had an amazing time and gained a lot more insight on how to craft the right positive and professional personal brand for your career. I listened to three key experts in PR and Marketing talk, and what did I learn? The importance of “owning” a personal brand, which uniquely defines you in today’s communication world. I also met some of the officers and members of PRSA Boston, and other PRSSA members from local colleges. I learned how to look at yourself from a branding perspective in terms of even the most basic skills, like what you wear, how you present a message with your body language, and even the general manners you communicate to others. Never mind that I also felt slightly distracted just sitting in a corporate boardroom with the Boston skyline glistening in the background as if I was transplanted directly into a movie!
From the event, I learned the importance of taking the initiative when building your own brand, but what I truly took away from the experience was my ability to take that small leap of faith and make an incredible opportunity happen. By taking that initiative, I found an opportunity and I ran with it. Had I not even set foot in our first digital meeting last week, I would not be writing this blog post today. So, to all aspiring PR tyros out there like me, one of the best ways to get your PR career started and discover the doors of opportunity is to take the initiative now. After all, opportunities are not lost by those who dare to take the initiative.