Advice from PRSSA’s May 2021 graduates
By Ann Bell
With Grady College consistently being ranked as one of the top schools in journalism education in the US, it is no secret that the Grady experience can, at times, feel like an uphill battle. From joining your first club to job applications- you are always on your toes. Seniors have lived to tell the tale, and were eager to offer a few words of wisdom from their time at Grady College.
“The second I got involved is the second I started getting noticed,” said Valentina Drake, vice president of PRSSA.
Grady has 19+ student organizations that are available to any major- ranging from WUOG 90.5 Radio to Magazine Club!
Clubs can not only offer you friends, but offer real opportunities that can propel you towards success while at UGA. PRSSA is among those 19+ organizations at Grady and is known for being a national, esteemed organization.
Madison Dye, president of PRSSA, said, “No matter what you choose for your career path, involvement in PRSSA looks incredible to employers. You want to get as much experience as possible and joining a committee is the best place to start. After your first year in a committee, I would recommend running for exec or a committee head position and just continuing to work your way up from there!”
Though it can feel daunting at first, clubs open the door to many great experiences.
“When there is an opportunity, volunteer yourself. When you have the chance to learn about something new or get a deeper look into something familiar, take it.” said Karlie Hanson. “When you are surrounded by people you don’t already know, strum up a conversation with a stranger. People love to talk about themselves!”
Be sure to join and get involved in something that interests you- and remember—it is never too late to get involved!
Internship and Job Applications
UGA offers many areas of help in the internship and job hunt, but keep an eye out for those connections you may be overlooking.
Drake landed an internship through talking with a faculty coordinator.
“Make connections with your professors,” said Drake. “Kim Landrum helped me get an internship offer through word of mouth. Those connections are so valuable.”
Networking is vital for success post-graduation, and an easy way to do this is to reach out with speakers.
“Foster relationships because you are starting at zero connections. Reach out with speakers after and follow up,” said Drake. “It makes it easier in the long run to have people you can reach out to from a point of past interaction.”
When reaching out, “practice the skill of engaging in conversation — ask them questions!” said Hanson. “Send emails to professors and professionals that you don’t already know. Don’t be afraid to step out from underneath fear or the crowd.”
Utilize every connection that you interact with.
Interviews can be intimidating, but the best way to get over that initial fear is to complete one. Practice makes perfect, and no matter the outcome you gain valuable experience from every interview you do. Interviews offer lots of time to learn about a company and its goals or mission.
“When people talk, actually listen,” said Hanson. “Don’t be afraid to step out, raise your hand and speak to someone new, but when you are in that interview take time to listen and remember things they mention. This can be incredibly helpful down the road.”
This can be a great time to learn something new, and potentially leverage the information you learned later down the line. An important part of the interview process is learning that not every opportunity will be for you.
“If you don’t get an opportunity, that’s okay. Treat people like actual human beings, they’re just like you. Be different and be bold. Everything can be an opportunity for greatness if you just engage it,” said Hanson.
Also, don’t be afraid of the word “no.” You won’t get offered every position you apply for, and that’s okay; it doesn’t say anything about your worth as a professional or person in general. The most important thing is that you get back up and try again.
“Rejection comes all the time and don’t take it personally. It is a part of life and you won’t be a great fit everywhere,” said Drake.
If you do get rejected, send a follow-up thank you email anyways. Though it can be challenging, try to take rejection as a learning experience.
Take these pieces of advice that come directly from the people who have lived through it! Thank you seniors!