Looking Back or Forward: 5 Reasons to Be a PR Major

 

By: Sara Kosior, Director of Membership

As summer is winding down, most of us are trying to make the most of the upcoming month; whether it’s trying to plan a last-minute vacation around a summer job, finishing up an internship, squeezing in as much sun and pool time as possible or even just trying to put off packing to head back to Happy Valley. I have 30 days until I begin my senior year at Penn State, and with that realization, comes a lot of reflection. I never would have thought this is where I’d be when I started as a 1freshman pursuing an animal science degree. After that first year, I began my transition to PR – chemistry is awful. It was a bizarre and complicated process (although the major switch is a great talking point), but I’ve never been happier. From my very first time sitting in Steve Manuel’s COMM 370 Intro to PR class, I fell in love with the industry.

There are pros and cons of every major and they will be different for every person you meet. But if you haven’t chosen a major yet (or even if you have), here are five reasons why being a PR major is a great path to choose:

1. Variety

There aren’t many jobs that will allow you to take something you’re passionate about and turn it into a career. With PR, that’s completely possible. There are so many different fields, businesses, corporations, non-profits, etc., out there, and they all need PR. You like sports? Great, you can pursue sports PR and marketing. You have an eye for fashion? Perfect, fashion PR it is. Have an interest in politics? Someone has to prepare our government leaders for their press conferences, you know. Most people have several different interests, and you probably can’t take a class in every one of them. PR is everywhere, and that gives us a great opportunity to merge our passions together and hopefully create a fulfilling life out of it.

2. Networking opportunities

A great thing about being a PR major is that you’re constantly meeting people, especially at a place like Penn State. We have one of the largest alumni networks in the country, and there are numerous opportunities to meet and talk to PR and communications professionals who can give great advice and create contacts that will be extremely useful come graduation. You have to put yourself out there, which is daunting for a lot of people, but it’s so worth it in the end. Even if they’re in another field or major, you never know who might start a company and will need a great PR team.

3. You can be you

You’ll hear it a hundred times when you start looking for internships and even when you begin looking for jobs – Who are you? What is your brand? Being a PR major allows you to discover what your strengths are in the communications field and run with them. College is a time to figure yourself out, and there aren’t many majors that place a lot of value on what makes you stand out as a person. Take advantage of it.

4. Social Media

A huge part of PR today is social media. These are platforms that our generation has pretty much grown up with and evolved alongside of them. And it’s not really a struggle for us. As millennials, most of the time we are the ones controlling the trending topics on Twitter, or which video has gone viral, without even trying. We are pretty much masters of the Internet and to be able to have that necessary skill as second nature when you will have to balance other job responsibilities is something to embrace.

5. It’s demanding, but never boring

PR is fast-paced and constantly changing, and that’s something they prepare you for at Penn State. You have to be able to roll out a press release with little notice and in record time so you can move on to the next thing thrown your way. Being quick on your feet and self-motivated is a must, and you have to think critically, yet openly. Depending on the job you land, there might be lots of travel, or the team you’re working with might be changing constantly. It’s exciting and provides so many opportunities to expand your experiences and skills and meet a ton of interesting people.

No matter where you plan to start or what major you think you have your heart set on, it’s okay to change your mind. I never dreamed that PR would have taken over my plans, but choosing this major turned out to be the best decision I could have made. While majoring in PR these past three years, I’ve been inspired, and as I enter my senior year, I’ll be keeping these things in mind to remind me why I do it. So if these reasons to choose a major sound as good to you as they do to me, I’d say PR is a great pick.

Image credit: seawolfliving.com

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