Austin, Texas. It is a place full of live music and food. However, it was also the place where Northern Michigan Universities PRSSA chapter bonded and grew as professionals in the big city. The PRSSA National Conference gave us all the opportunity to develop skills that will help us when we are seeking to get internships or jobs after graduation. The highlight of the conference for me was realizing just how important it really is to network with people within our field.
I realized networking was important after going to a session called “Interview your Strengths and Weaknesses.” The speaker talked about making sure we weren’t sitting with our chapters, because we already know them. Instead, we should be taking the opportunity to sit alone and mingle with the other young professionals around us. Especially since we are going to be the ones working together in the near future.
I took the advice and went to a couple sessions by myself and talked to the people near me. I never realized how much I like being independent, in the sense of taking my career in my own hands and seeing were it could lead me by communicating with others who are in the same boat I am. Within the people I met, I did end up staying connected with a few individuals after the conference. Getting to know their background and talking about where they want to end up in the future was interesting because some of them had completely different paths in PR and it was neat hearing about it. Others had some of the same interests and it was exciting to see how they were pursuing some of the same goals. Collaborating with one another and giving each other advice is something I will take away from the conference and I am thankful for.
After building up the confidence to attend sessions by myself and connecting with other college students, I decided to push myself even further and go connect with someone during the career fair. Simply by introducing myself and telling them who I was and why I was interested. This lead to me having a great conversation about how it is small world because we both had connections in Wisconsin. Now I have a set skype time with this individual about my career and what kind of work I am looking for after graduating.
Austin, Texas wasn’t just a school trip for me. It was a place that helped me grow as a young professional and had me leaving the city with new skills that I can’t wait to put to the test when it comes to finding a job after graduation. No matter who you are, freshmen, sophomore, junior, or senior. I recommend attending PRSSA National Conference when you get the chance, because it opens up your world to many new and exciting opportunities.