I believe that I have met more people in the past four months than I did in a whole year back home. In my first semester at Grand Valley State University, my personal rolodex has grown immensely. I owe most of this growth to the Public Relations Student Society of America. On September 7th of this year I decided to get my feet wet by joining PRSSA. It was enlightening, to say the least. A freshman among a sea of senior members, I did not know a single person. I can be seen in the picture below. What the picture doesn’t shown, though, is the inner panic I felt as everyone around me greeted their friends.
This picture was taken at the first meeting of the semester. There I am, sitting in the back all alone. Now, this isn’t going to be some sob story about how I was lonely and never made any friends. What actually happened is quite the opposite. Over the course of the semester, I never missed a single PRSSA meeting. I was presented with the opportunity to meet and connect with all kinds of like-minded people. Although not everyone in this picture stayed in PRSSA this semester, those that did I got to know.
There was a very short time where everyone there got to introduce themselves to the people around them, however, that short icebreaker was not enough for the names to stick in my head. At the time, I didn’t know that the girl two seats to my left is Vanessa who would later be a member of the APR Alumni Relations committee with me. The girl to the far right of the second picture is Danielle, another member of the APR Alumni Relations committee. Seated in front of Danielle is Hunter, someone I did not even know I shared a class with, CAP 105. I could go on and on listing all the PRSSA members I know, but, that would be pointless if there was no professional development provided.
The person who recruited me to PRSSA, Kelly Darcy, became almost a mentor for me. She essentially taught me how to use Twitter, which is definitely helpful in the field. She taught me how to use Tweetdeck, a life saver that I used every PRSSA meeting. I was also a guest on her podcast, PR Hangover, after one of the meetings about being a solo practitioner. Alyse Rose was featured alongside me on the podcast and we got to know each other through the meeting.
Another person that I met at PRSSA who helped me blossom in both the club and also in classes was Ashley Bovin. Another person I didn’t know that I shared a class with, Ashley is the reason I survived CAP 115, a class that should not have been as confusing as it was for such a level. Not only did she help me through this class, she is also the Vice President of Alumni Relations for PRSSA and the Chair of the APR Alumni Relations Committee. I applied to join the committee and she accepted my application and allowed me to join. It was through networking at PRSSA and having her experience my work ethic in class that gave me the upper hand when joining.
I made some of my biggest advancements in PR through going to that first PRSSA meeting and getting to know those two people, alongside the many others that I interact with on a regular basis because of the club. I look forward to next semester, where I would like to blog about every meeting and even further my involvement with PRSSA.