By: Emma Kauffman, THON Chair
Starting off your freshman year of college is undeniably overwhelming. From finding a group of friends that help you manage being in a new place alone for the first time to actually getting yourself to classes; it’s a lot to handle. You will learn so much in your courses and about yourself over this first year. As a prospective communication oriented major, this is the time that you will begin learning about various techniques that will help you connect and succeed throughout your professional career.
If you’re an incoming freshman who is considering being a Public Relations Major, here are some things to keep in mind as you go through your first year:
Find things that you’re passionate about or interest you, and use those passions to network. At the beginning of the year, it’s not a bad idea to go to meetings of clubs you think you might like. That way, even if you don’t end up wanting to join the organization, you may have at least met some people who have things in common with you. Not to mention, finding things that you aren’t interested in helps steer you toward what you are interested in. Keep in mind that normally there are involvement activities for every semester, so if you haven’t done anything all of fall semester, don’t think the rest of the year has to be the same!
Don’t be nervous about being the youngest in a group, most clubs are looking for freshman members! By getting involved early, it is also more likely that you will be able to move up to leadership positions in any organization you choose to become involved in. This will look great on a resume when you’re searching for future internships, because it shows that you are ready to take initiative and accept responsibilities right off the bat.
Make Friends In The Same College
Of course making friends everywhere is advisable, but meeting people with the same or a similar major means you will have a very helpful and supportive group when it comes to things involving your classes. Making friends with like interests also has the added bonus that there are probably common topics to talk about. At the very least, you will have acquaintances to talk to at events your college hosts, which is a lot better than trying to make small talk to strangers.
Keep in mind that these people are the ones who will help you grow your network in the future. Having connects with people who will be going into the same fields as you could means that you are more likely to find out about anything from job opportunities to new practices in your discipline. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have people who may be able to help you out in the future. That being said, it’s important that the people you befriend are people you genuinely like, because no one appreciates being used for future gain.
Learn What Your Major Does
It is incredibly important to understand what work you could be doing for years after college. By learning what your major does early you could decide to change your field of study, or figure out which type of career within your current major you think you’d enjoy pursuing. Take the time to talk to people who are in the type of work that you’re interested in. There are so many ways to get a better picture of what it is that you could be doing in your career.
Connect with Alumni from your school on LinkedIn and send them a message, explain that if they would be willing, that you would like to ask them about their career. Most alumni will be very helpful if you take the time to thoughtfully express interest. Also it’s a good idea to go to events that Alumni attend, and become comfortable talking to people about what they do on a day to day basis. If you’re not comfortable with doing that quite yet, talking to upperclassmen in your organizations, greek life, or classes is also another great way to learn what your major is all about. Lastly if you don’t feel like socializing, find job postings you think you’d enjoy in the future, look at the requirements, and go to YouTube and look up demos of programs you would be required to use. All of these things will help you get a better feel for any career you’re thinking about.
Don’t worry, it’s just the beginning of a great four year journey and there is tons of time to figure everything out!