“You should really consider taking the Intro to Public Relations class I’m teaching next semester,” Professor Kerns (PK) said to me one day after a journalism class. I responded with, “Yeah, maybe!” hoping that she would be satisfied with my answer. Besides, I was only taking her journalism class because I needed an extra class to fill my schedule. Why would she think I would be interested in PR? Little did I know, PK saw something in me that I hadn’t yet found in myself – a determined woman with a strong voice.
Coming to Olivet as a freshman, I thought I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. Then, I thought I wanted to be a high school English teacher. Next, I decided I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do so I chose a basic major and minor that would give me options when I graduate college. Though I was surviving my classes and getting along well in the major I had chosen, I felt like I was just going through the motions. I didn’t have an idea of what I wanted to do with my future, I wasn’t passionate about the work I was doing, and I didn’t feel connected to the department I was a part of. For some people, using their freshman year as a “trial and error” may be completely fine, but I hated having no idea what I wanted to do with my future.
During the time I spent trying to convince myself that I had made the right choice in majors, I ran into PK around campus many times. Each time, she was persistent in her goal of helping me explore the world of PR. Finally, during a conversation at our local Starbucks, PK got through to me.
I had casually mentioned that I was working a job on campus, to which she responded by asking where I worked. After explaining what I do at my job and responsibilities of the department I work for she said, “So basically, you’re telling me that you work in Public Relations.” I had never really realized that what I was doing would be considered PR. This sparked my interest in the major, learning more about what I can do with it, and ultimately changing my major.
Fast forward to present day, and it’s about all I can do to not explode with excitement each time someone asks me about my major. Not only have I found a sense of direction in my life, but I’ve been experiencing a passion inside myself that honestly surprises me. Through opportunities in the PR major like Inspired Strategies Agency, I’m able to gain real experience working in the PR field. This experience has not only solidified the conviction that I made the right decision when I changed my major (for the third time), but it’s given me a confidence and a voice that I didn’t know existed in myself.
Having the opportunity to work with a team to meet our client’s needs. whether it be through promotion, social media, event planning, etc., has given me a true taste of what is to come in my future. In working with my team, I’ve been able to come up with ideas, bounce them off of my teammates, and even help expand upon ideas of the others I’m working with. This has forced me to put myself out there and not be scared of potential rejection but instead, refocus and adjust my thinking for the betterment of our client.
For a girl who knew nothing about what Public Relations was when I came to college, I’d say I’ve learned more about it and myself than I could’ve ever dreamed when I signed the slip declaring a change in my major. Even if this semester is a tiny taste of what my future holds, I know I’ve landed the jackpot when it comes to finding the right career path. I’m extremely excited about the opportunities I’ve been given through the PR program and I am ecstatic to see where it takes me.
Written By: Haley Foster, Junior Account Executive