As November is coming to an end, so too is my first semester in the Public Relations program. I’m winding down on current assignments and preparing myself for some rest and relaxation before giving it my all in my second semester. This program is like nothing I have ever experienced…in a good way of course! It has pushed me to work harder than ever before. As I reflect on what I have learned during these past couple months from students, alumni and professors, I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips and tricks on how to make the most of your first year.
1. Come prepared – Being ready for class, having your readings completed and notes ready may seem simple, but it can become a balancing act when the assignments begin to pile on. Take the time to get back to basics to stay on top of your course load and avoid the stress of cramming multiple chapters in the day before a test (we’ve all been there at least once…).
2. Put your best foot forward – Showing up for class is one thing, but really showing up is another. The best way to stay on top of the workload while impressing your professors and classmates is to put your best work into everything you do. At the end of your program, your professors become your references and your classmates become your colleagues. You want them to be able to tell future employers that you were a hard worker, and every document you produced showed your passion and attention to detail. Don’t forget to proofread! Consider your professors your clients – treat each project as if it was a paying job.
3. Get involved – Along with the different assignments and tasks you will do in class, the Public Relations program offers so many different events and networking opportunities to help you meet new people and get your name out there! You can volunteer within the PR industry at events and conferences, volunteer your time within the program itself, or help second-year students with their projects (I was a clothing model!). Helping build your rapport with people in the field can give you a plethora of valuable information. I found this was a great way to learn different skills and introduce myself to people in the industry I may not have met otherwise.
4. Stay organized – Organization is key when it comes to balancing school, volunteering, work and any other social events you may have. An agenda, your calendar on your phone, or your favourite planning app will become your best friend. The Student Academic Learning Service (SALS) at Durham College is a great tool when learning time management skills. A quick appointment with them can help ease some of your concerns and teach you how to plan your day to release some of the stress. Keeping on top of assignments, test, and event dates will help you become a well-rounded student, and help you make the most out of your two years in the Public Relations program!
Using these tips will help you start off your first year with confidence and finish strong, all while experiencing as much as possible in the short amount of time!
– Laura Wilson, Class of 2018