When I first received the email about the Day-of Competition for National Assembly, I had no idea what I would be doing or whether I even had the skills to participate, but I figured, “Hey, why not?” For the Day-of Competition, we were placed into groups of four to five students from various PRSSA Chapters throughout the country and given a task: Help the Portland Chinatown Museum increase both membership and visitorship by millennials by creating a campaign. We had one hour to complete this task. Although the job first seemed daunting, we got it done, and I was able to take away three main lessons from the experience.
Find your niche in the group. Everyone at the PRSSA 2019 National Assembly was motivated to further their career, which is why they were at the event. That being said, most people in my group had strong opinions and lots of ideas about what would work. Even though we all had valid ideas, we also all had our own areas of expertise. For example, I am a public speaking tutor at my campus writing center, so I sat back for the first portion of our meeting while everyone figured out which ideas were the strongest. Once it came time to put together a presentation, I took action. I helped delegate and divide up what we should talk about to make our presentation professional and cohesive. I knew this was an area where I could offer more than the other members in my group, so that is the area in which I went to take action.
You won’t get experience without putting yourself out there. At the beginning of this post, I talked about how I did not know what to expect or if I was qualified to participate. The reality of the situation is that you will not gain experience if you do not put yourself into situations to gain experience. Especially for an opportunity like this, not only will you be gaining knowledge, but you also will be forced to work with people of varying experiences. You can grow yourself and your own abilities by learning from others who know more than you, and you will probably teach them something along the way as well.
Connections are everything! As mentioned, part of this event was being paired up with four to five other PRSSA students from all over the country to work beside. We, as undergraduate and graduate public relations students, are the future of public relations. The people we were working with could be our future coworkers in the field. The connections we make now are going to help us in some sense in the future. Being able to get to know each other and connect on LinkedIn expands your network. You get to work together and then celebrate one another’s accomplishments.
These are only a few of the many takeaways I got from the PRSSA National Assembly Day-of Competition. I encourage anyone wanting to learn more about public relations and wanting to gain experience in a fun setting to participate in future competitions if they can.
Jenna Newman is a junior undergraduate interpersonal communications and international relations double major at the University of Delaware. She also currently serves as diversity director for the PRSSA–UD Chapter. Follow her on Instagram @jennamichh or link with her on LinkedIn.