By Emma Ingram
My story regarding why I joined PRSSA goes back to the beginning of my freshman year when I had no idea what I wanted to study or what I wanted to get involved with on campus. When it came to picking out classes I decided to take a wide variety, including a Communications course called Understanding Media. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the course and the only reason I took it was to learn more about the field since I had never understood what communications really entailed.
Fast forward to December when classes came to a close and I realized how much I had learned in that communications course. Over winter break I had time to think about declaring my major. I thought back to one of the topics that was briefly covered in my communications course regarding public relations. Although I was somewhat familiar with the field, I still had many questions. So I spent my winter break talking to friends, family and past professors about what PR entailed. Having gotten a lot of helpful feedback from everyone, I decided that once I returned to campus I would declare my major in Public Relations and Strategic Communication.
Now this is where it gets fun. January came and I confidently went into my adviser’s office and declared my major. As I waited for the elevator in my residence hall I looked over towards a bulletin board. There was a flyer advertising AU’s chapter of PRSSA. The flyer didn’t include much information about what the group did but the fact that I came across a student PR organization minutes after having declared my major seemed like a sign to me. I ripped down the sign and decided to go to their last “open” meeting the following night.
The meeting was fantastic; I learned everything I needed to know about PRSSA. Each Executive Board member spoke about what their role was in the chapter and how PRSSA had had an impact on their life. Their reasons ranged from broadening their networks, creating relationships with professionals as well as being able to launch their PR career at a young age. They also spoke about events and fundraisers that were happening in the upcoming weeks. I was hooked; I knew I needed to become involved in this organization. Within a week of that meeting I paid my dues and became a member of the chapter. I attended almost every bi-weekly meeting as well as all the events. I learned about how PR plays an important role in many different settings, whether it’s a hospital or a successful company. Every event I attended captured my attention and I always walked away with new information and a greater understanding of PR.
Looking back I can easily say joining PRSSA was one of the best decisions of my freshman year. Since joining I have been introduced to a whole new world of people who are interested in the same thing as me. We are all PR freaks who just want to immerse ourselves in the field. We are constantly encouraging each other to do our best and be PR rock stars. In a way, we are all on the same path chasing the (somewhat) same dreams.
As a member of PRSSA, I have grown as a professional and as a person. I am so happy and grateful that I happened to see that flyer advertising PRSSA in my residence hall when I did, because that moment really has had a huge positive impact not only on my college experience but also my life.