Category Archives: College Life

What a great ride it’s been!

By: Jordan Ross

Coming into college, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my life.

I started college as a computer engineering technology major, before switching to computer science, and then making the drastic leap over to journalism. If that sounded like a whirlwind reading, I can assure you that’s what it felt like living it as well. There were aspects of all of those majors that I really enjoyed, but none of them seemed to have that “it” factor.

Stuck and not knowing exactly what to do, I went to McKenny Hall to talk to an advisor at the University Advising and Career Development Center. While in the lobby waiting for my appointment, I noticed a rack of small handouts that had information about what career paths you could take with different majors. Next to the handout for journalism was a handout for public relations.

At the time, I had only heard sparingly what public relations actually was, but going into the meeting I knew I wanted to learn more about it. That conversation ended up changing my life, and here I am today getting ready to get my degree in public relations.

Four years ago, if you would have told me that I would be graduating college with a degree in public relations, the first thing I would’ve asked was “what the heck is public relations?” But now, I feel like the education I’ve received has prepared me for my next chapter in life.

That education not only applies to within the classroom, thanks to the professors who I could tell truly cared about my education, but also outside of the classroom, thanks to experiences like being in PRSSA.

From being a member who couldn’t even make it to all the meetings due to having a busy work schedule, to being elected the vice president of professional development, my college experience has shown me that anything is possible.

I’ll be continuing my education this upcoming fall semester as a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University, and I can truly say that everything I’ve learned and experienced during my time as an undergrad has prepared me for all that is to come next in my journey.

As you may have heard people say, college isn’t easy. There may be some days where you feel like you can’t do it anymore and you just want to give up. But take my advice: DON’T. My parents once told me before I started my first day of classes, that college is a marathon, not a race. Over the years, I couldn’t help but to remember that advice and understand how true those words are.

There’s been a lot of twists and turns along the way to get to where I am now. There’s been great times, and there’s been not so great times. But no matter what, I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing. Everything that we go through shapes us to become the people we are, and after looking back, it truly has been a great ride.

Thank you PRSSA, and to those I’ve had the opportunity to meet due to being in it. It’s an experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Jordan PRSSA

Source: EMU PRSSA Facebook

Jordan Ross is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. Jordan is in his first semester serving as the vice president of professional development for EMU’s Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA. Jordan is also a member of EMU’s Honors College and serves as the president of the EMU Student Center Student Employee Advisory Committee. You can find Jordan on Twitter @_JJRoss




A college career in review

By: Anissa Gabbara

College is one big ol’ emotional roller coaster, and as a senior, I can testify to that. I can probably speak for all seniors when I say that the past four years have been a combination of excitement for the future and fear of the unknown. But despite the emotional roller coaster, I’m happy to say that I’ve had a successful college career, even when there were a few bumps in the road.

Before transferring to Eastern Michigan University, I started my college journey at Schoolcraft College. I decided to major in business, with no particular reason or goal in mind. I knew what I loved at heart, which was music and entertainment, but at the time, I didn’t know what major would best suit those passions. Business seemed like the “safe choice.” I thought, “Maybe I can just start my own music business.”

One business class later, I knew it wasn’t for me. Being the creative person I am, I couldn’t stand to sit through another business class, but little did I know, my future career was right in front of me. At the time, I worked in the Communication Arts Department as the Department Head Dr. Taylor’s assistant. Dr. Taylor’s personality was larger than life. She was quite the opposite of me, as I am more introverted, and she could talk to anyone she walked passed without hesitation. She was the epitome of professional. She taught me the skills to become a better communicator, professional and leader. She was my first mentor and it was because of her that I started to gain an interest in the world of communications.

This newfound interest led me to my ultimate decision to major in public relations. It was my love for the arts, strong writing and communication skills and creative heart that led me to believe PR was the right choice.

sdc pic

Photo Credit: EMU PRSSA Facebook

My journey in the PR program was not perfect, though. There were times when I questioned whether I had made the right choice, like when I was unable to get into the introduction course and thrown into an advanced course without having any prior knowledge or experience in the field. However, that didn’t stop me. I worked harder than ever to get through that course and my grade reflected it. I knew I was going to be OK.

undergraduate symposium

Courtesy Photo

My confidence and self-belief led me to priceless opportunities, and I started to take more risks and get more involved on campus. Toward the end of my junior year, I ran for the PRSSA E-board and became vice president of public relations. The experience I gained as an E-board member was invaluable, as I gained leadership skills and valuable connections with professionals within the field. I also had the pleasure of presenting research with my peers at EMU’s 36th Annual Undergraduate Symposium. On that same day, I received an email from the promotions manager at Fox 2 News for an interview and eventually secured my first internship as their creative services intern. This past November, I was honored to have received the most prestigious and highly competitive award that a PR student could earn in the state of Michigan, and that is the Donald P. Durocher Memorial Scholarship. This was a major accomplishment and I am very proud of myself for it. These are just a few of the many memories I will take with me upon graduation.

fox 2 pic

Courtesy Photo

prsa detroit meeting

Photo Credit: PRSA Detroit

College can be a nightmare at times, but one day you’ll reminisce about some of the good things, like when you won that big scholarship, or when you secured your dream internship. College is bittersweet to say the least and while I look forward to moving on, I’ll never forget the amazing opportunities that college has granted me. Now it’s on to the next phase.

Anissa Gabbara is a senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations with a double minor in communications and marketing. She currently serves as the vice president of public relations on EMU PRSSA’s E-board. She has an interest in celebrity PR and hopes to one day work with some of the biggest names and corporations in the entertainment world. She plans to hone her craft while becoming a valuable source of information to others. You can follow her on Twitter @AnissaGabbara.  

Making the most out of your college experience

By: Anissa Gabbara



College is a time for you to build your professional persona, and one way to do that is by taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, while gaining skills that you can show off to future employers. Here are a few things you can do to get the most out of your college experience.

  1. Join organizations.

One way to ensure that you get the most out of your college experience is by joining an organization that is geared toward your interests. Last year, I took it upon myself to start getting involved, so I joined the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), initially as a member. Not too long after, I was ready to take on a leadership position, so I ran for E-board and eventually became vice president of public relations. Leadership positions look excellent on your resume, but it also gives you experience with working in a team. Employers will appreciate this!

  1. Find an internship.

If there’s anything that truly prepares you for a professional career after college, it’s a good internship! Over the summer, I completed my first internship at Fox 2 News as a creative services intern. I walked away with so many new skills that I can take with me in my career. It’s also a wonderful addition to my resume. Nothing can prepare you more for the professional arena than an internship, but that doesn’t mean what you learn in class is not equally as important.

  1. Take your classes seriously.

Yes, internships are invaluable, but what you learn in class will prepare you for the work you will be doing during your internship, so don’t slack off! It’s important to do well in class so you can build an impressive portfolio to show off to your potential employers. Of course, internships are much more exciting and you get hands-on experience in the field, but don’t underestimate the value of your classes!

Anissa Gabbara is a senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations with a double minor in communications and marketing. She currently serves as the vice president of public relations in EMU’s PRSSA Chapter. She has an interest in celebrity PR and hopes to one day work with some of the biggest names and corporations in the entertainment world. She plans to hone her craft while becoming a valuable source of information to others. You can follow her on Twitter @AnissaGabbara.  

“Being a leader, and how she inspired me to be one too.”

By: Natalie Burns

What truly makes an effective leader? Is it about power? Control? Or is it about creating a vision?

Catey Hill, a staff writer at the NY Daily News, said, “effective leadership is much more than simply giving assignments and direction. It requires vision, planning, and practice” (source).

It isn’t always easy to make friends in today’s society. As college students, we are busy with the pressures of everyday life. We may work and go to school full time. We may be mothers and fathers. We may be commuters, writers, and entrepreneurs. We are busy, and sometimes that makes it difficult to find long-lasting friendships.

In an article by Dr. Randy Kamen, a psychologist, educator, and author, she stated, “when life becomes challenging, women seek out friendships with other women as a means of regulating stress levels. A common female stress response is to ‘tend and befriend.’ That is, when women become stressed, their inclination is to nurture those around them and reach out to others” (source).

leah and natalie

Leah Rodriguez (left) and Natalie Burns (right).

When I first met Leah, I knew we would eventually be friends. She was personable, friendly, and always assertive in class (she also has really great hair). After we attended the summer Michigan PRSSA Leadership Summit together, we created a friendship and bond that allows us to continuously complement one another. Her positive and vibrant attitude gives me the ambition to want to excel in my own life. Our life is challenging enough, and we sought out a friendship together in order to have each other to lean on and take some of that pressure off.

A good leader is hard to find. A great friend is even harder. Someone that makes you want to be a better person, that challenges you to do great things, and a person that will go to any length to make sure you’re okay, is both a friend and leader that deserves recognition for their hard work, ambition, and reliability.

Not only has Leah been a loyal friend, but she has also allowed me to see the strengths and skills that I would like to see in a PR professional. She is assertive without being arrogant or condescending. She is able to delegate, while being kind and understanding. Leah also knows how to handle responsibility without getting stressed out with her personal life and hardships. These charismatic qualities spell out public relations, and they are key leadership skills that I believe are vital for the industry.

I am proud to have gained such an amazing friend. Although she has moved on to a new and exciting chapter in her life, her inspiration stays with me, and I know that her drive to keep me moving will stay with me.

Thank you Leah Rodriguez for being a part of this awesome journey called life!

Natalie Burns is a public relations major and marketing minor. Her writing, communication, and multitasking skills have allowed her to do especially well in her field. She has an outgoing, bubbly personality. Natalie is currently a public relations intern at SOS Community Services in downtown Ypsilanti. She is also Chief Financial Officer of PRSSA. Connect with her via Twitter @burns_natalie and Instagram @natattack03. Follow her blog at


How to prepare for the fall

By: Irene Pool

With fall right around the corner, we have to start preparing for the transition to different routines. No more shorts, crop tops, flip-flops, summer night drives or weekend beach visits. Instead we start preparing for football games, sweater weather and pumpkin spiced lattes!

But have you ever wondered if your professional behavior changes along with the seasons? The start of fall means the start of classes, start of a new schedule at work or even a new internship opportunity.


How are you going to stay connected with friends from back home after you moved to school? Will you be able to attend that Friday night football game when you have a five page paper due next week? With the start of something new, you have to learn how to have balance. Enjoy a late night out with friends, but don’t completely forget about your duties as either a student or employee.

Staying connected

Being involved in something new allows you to go out and connect with different people. It’s okay to post that selfie with a group of friends and your school mascot, or your first day on the job. Allowing others to see what you are up to gives them an opportunity to still feel connected with you.

You also shouldn’t forget to follow that certain organization on campus that catches your eye or that new potential customer. Reach out to new opportunities and see what others are up to. Connecting is always a key aspect of meeting new people.

Having Fun

New experiences are all about enjoying your time. Step out of your bubble and see what the world has to offer. Don’t just stay in one routine, mix it up every semester. That allows you to connect with new people and maybe even expand your resume.

Irene Pool is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. This is her first year in EMU’s PRSSA chapter. She was drawn to social media because she likes being able to connect with others in many different ways. Irene is an outgoing person who enjoys learning something new every day. She loves finding the beauty in the world and facing new challenges.


How to stay on track this semester

By: Katie Gerweck



It’s the beginning of a new school year, and for me it will be my last. I’m heading into my senior year, which means my schedule is full of tough classes, PRSSA duties, and work. Although I know it will be overwhelming at times, I’m going to try to stay ahead of the game this year and not fall behind. Although it can be tricky to juggle your different responsibilities, there are some steps you can take now that will help the rest of your semester go more smoothly. It’s not too late to form good habits and be prepared!

1. Make note of important dates and request them off work now.

Whether it’s an event for the club you’re in, an important family event, or a meeting for your second job, there are probably a couple days this semester that you’ll need off from work. Put them in the calendar in your phone or your planner so you won’t forget and request those days off from work as soon as possible to make sure you can attend.

2. Get a planner and use it!

A lot of students start out diligently noting homework assignments in their planner, only to abandon the practice two weeks in. But keeping a planner is a great way to help you keep track of assignments and remind you of upcoming deadlines. Check out Rachel’s post on how to organize your to-do list for some helpful hints.

3. Ask other students about the classes you’re taking.

If it’s early in the semester, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to expect from certain classes. How difficult is the class going to be? How does the professor run the course? Do you really need the textbook, or can you save $100 and just use your notes? If you’re not sure, find a student who has already taken the class and ask them for advice. You’ll feel more prepared.

4.Log off from social media.

Social media and websites like YouTube and Netflix can be distracting when you’re trying to get work done, and it’s hard to find the willpower to pull yourself away. If you know social media is going to be a problem for you, it might be time to take drastic measures. Before working on a big project, have your roommate change the passwords on your most distracting sites and keep them hidden from you until you get your work done.

Katie Gerweck is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in journalism. She is the editor-in-chief for EMU PRSSA, and also works as a copy editor for the Eastern Echo. She was the copy chief for the Echo during the summer of 2015.

How to organize your to-do list

By: Rachel Dwornick

Many times schoolwork, life, and our job become overwhelming in college. According to the College Stress and Mental Health Poll , 85 percent of students feel stressed daily (source). Here are five tips to organize your to-do list and hopefully relieve some stress.

1. Make a list

First and foremost just grab a piece of paper and make a list. Write everything down you have to do that day or that week. That way you can see all you have to do.

2. Prioritize

Next grab a new piece of paper and prioritize your list. Write out your tasks in order from most to least important. This will allow you to see what requires your attention first.

3. Time requirement

The next step is to figure out how much time each task will take. Write the time requirement of each task next to that task so that way you can track how much time you allotted and how much time the task actually took. Don’t worry too much, though, if you go over time on some tasks. There will be tasks that also take less time than you allotted.

4. Find balance

Find a balance between each task. Don’t complete all your long/hard tasks one after the other. Balance some hard/long tasks with some shorter/easier tasks. That way you don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed.

 5. Plan a break

One of the most important steps: plan a break in your to-do list. We need breaks to just de-stress and let our mind rest. Even grabbing a cup of coffee or a 15 minute break will help. Plus a break will allow you to come back to the task and have a fresh start.

After completing these five steps you may want to write out your list again on a blank sheet of paper and make any changes you wrote down.


Is your college student stressed? Probably.
Energy, Time, Priority, Work/Life: 4 New Ways to Organize Your To-Do List

Rachel Dwornick is a senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations with a minor in communications. She holds the position of Member Relations in PRSSA and is an active member of Alpha Xi Delta. Follow her on Twitter at @racheldwornick.