“Hey, Gabi…. what is it you are going to school for again? Marketing?”
This is a question I get asked at least 20 times every time I visit home. My response used to always be the same:
“No, dad, public relations! How many times do I have to tell you?”
Before this semester, when my dad would refute my answer by saying PR and marketing were the same thing, I would often just grumble in defeat and walk away. You see, although I had a basic understanding of what public relations was four months ago, I didn’t know it well enough to defend it or explain it clearly to others. However, now when my dad hits me with, “Hey Gabs, how is your marketing degree going?” I can spit out a strong statement back that shuts him right up:
“Dad, I am not majoring in marketing, marketers are concerned with selling products and they view their publics as consumers, I am concerned with the relationship between my client company and their audiences. I view my publics as real people in which it is important to create and maintain a positive relationship with.”
I don’t know how much of it he really retains, but it makes me feel good that I can actually hold up conversation with him about PR and at least try and make him understand.
Like I mentioned, at the beginning of this semester I was pretty unsure of what PR completely entails. Now, I feel confident in my knowledge and understanding of PR and although I have a lot more to learn, I feel more excited about the field I am going into!
Throughout this class, I’ve learned about the difference between PR, journalism, advertising and marketing. I’ve learned the steps to use when going through a crisis as well as how to plan, conduct and analyze research, in addition to many other valuable skills.
I definitely think my confidence and excitement about PR has grown throughout this semester. I believe I have found my voice as a blogger and through both blogging and writing out research for my campaign book, I have also learned a lot about APA style citations. I no longer have to have a 107 tabs open on my laptop with examples on how to cite in APA style in every scenario possible, I can do it mostly by memory.
In terms of the PR field, I have a better understanding of the responsibilities of a PR practitioner and the different types of work I can possibly go into (corporate, agency, in-house). The guest speakers we had in class and the hands on activities really helped me gain this knowledge and helped me relate what I learned in class to the outside world. Who knew that what we learned in a classroom is actually important in the real world!
The thing that I got the most benefit and knowledge from however, was that campaign book that we worked on throughout the semester. At the beginning of the class, I was extremely scared of anything that had to do with the campaign book. I had no idea how I was going to create my own. Once we broke it into it’s separate parts, it wasn’t as scary. Like I mentioned, I learned a lot about research and how to conduct and write about it specifically for PR but also other things like writing out objectives, strategies and tactics and planning them out with a timetable and budget.
When I finally put together my entire campaign book and printed out, I felt an overwhelming rush of pride and relief, happy it was over but extremely proud of the work and effort I put into it.
Overall, I believe I have learned a tremendous amount this semester and I am excited to carry on what I have learned to my other classes and my career!