By: Natalie Edgin
When people walk into a party, they often begin their night by chatting with their friends and having a good time. After a while, they often find the courage to go over to that group of people they don’t know and introduce themselves. All is well until they get that dreaded question everyone always seems to ask…”What is your major?” As a double major, in Public Relations and Psychology, I cannot even count the number of times I have had people immediately go from seeming interested in what I have to say to making a quick excuse to run away. Every time that happens I just suck it up and move on to the next person, hoping for once that I won’t be judged based on my chosen academic path. I have run into this problem several times, even among my friends. They hear Public Relations and immediately frown, believing all they’ve heard about Public Relations practitioners being deceitful and “spinning” negative situations to seem good. My one friend even said to my face, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think anyone needs a degree to be successful at Public Relations. It’s all common sense.” Yes, these people may be correct in some ways. Public Relations does involve creating a positive image for an organization, company, or person, but not in the way that most people believe. It’s so much more than that. It involves forming mutually beneficial relationships between these organizations, companies, and people and their publics. It’s not deceitful and Public Relations personnel cannot ethically lie to their publics. My other major, psychology, also seems to have a bad reputation among most people. They believe that I’m going to analyze them and every word they say, and they believe that all psychologists are like Freud (who made concepts such as “Penis Envy” and the Id common knowledge throughout the world). No, I am not going to analyze every word someone says to me and no I am not going to lie to them and “spin” my personality in a way to make me seem like a good person. Unfortunately, as a Public Relations and Psychology major, I will always come in contact with those people that believe that I am wasting my money on two degrees that are “common sense” or a bunch of “crazy ideas” that have no basis in the real world. However, I believe that we can change this problem. Those random people at those parties represent an American public that has been misinformed and has not taken the time to understand what people in both these fields do to affect them every day. Public Relations touches every part of society, without most people truly understanding the real impact it has on the world as a whole. We can help educate these people and make them realize that our passion for our majors is real and that we are worthy additions to this university community. I personally love Public Relations and Psychology, and before I graduate, and maybe even after, I plan on telling everyone I meet how I will make my mark on society and how I will help people each and every day with the skills I have learned during my time at Penn State University.