Category Archives: graduation

12 Tips Every Graduating College Senior Needs To Know

By: Abriel Cousineau

Kill that interview with your dream PR agency with these 12 tricks up your sleeve.


Source: Abby Cousineau

As graduation quickly approaches, the anxiety of job searching becomes more real day after day. Job searching is stressful, no doubt, but with proper preparation, you can nail that interview and land the job of your dreams. Here are a few interview tips to keep handy while you embark on your search for the perfect post-grad job.

  1. Know the details beforehand

Research the company, know their history, what they do, what products or clients they work with and any other interesting details you can dig up. Also, try to find out who you will be interviewing with, find them on LinkedIn if you can get their name. Also, try to find out if you will be in a one-on-one or a group setting and research everyone you will be meeting with.

  1. Practice in Front of a Mirror

Practicing in front of the mirror will help you see yourself from the interviewer’s perspective. Pay attention to your facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures and any nervous ticks that may be distracting. Practicing also helps you be prepared for the hard questions you are sure to be asked.

  1. Check Your Social Media

This is a no-brainer. Double and triple check your social media and make sure there is nothing incriminating for interviewers to stumble upon. The last thing you want is for their image of you to be you drunk in a revealing club outfit.

  1. Get Directions

The night before make sure you look up the address and figure out how long it will take you to get there. Consider traffic and weather. Save the address and print out directions in case your phone malfunctions the morning of.

  1. Early. Like. Seriously.

You will seriously set a bad impression if you arrive late to your interview. Plan to be in the office lobby at least 15 minutes before your interview. Not only will you seem prepared in the eyes of your interviewers, but the extra few minutes will allow you to ensure everything is organized.

  1. Turn Off Your Phone

Don’t let a text from your BFF ruin the flow of your interview. Even a buzz in your pocket can throw you off, so just turn your phone off to make sure you have zero distractions.

  1. Dress to Impress

Wear something that makes you feel confident, but also be sure it is business appropriate and fits the job you are applying for. You did your homework already, so you should know what the work environment vibe is.

  1. Be Friendly to Everyone You Meet

You never know who you may run into during the interview. Be friendly to everyone, even the secretary or custodian. People will definitely notice if you are approachable and kind.

  1. Bring Hard Copies

Print out copies of your resume and sample work that your interviewers can look at during and keep after you leave. Bringing hard copies not only makes you look prepared but also gives you specific points to reference.

Ask Good Questions

At the end of the interview, don’t just let it fizz out. Be prepared with questions and make sure they are GOOD. Salary and time off are no-nos. Consider questions such as: How would you describe the ideal candidate? What have you enjoyed the most about working here? How would you describe the company culture here? Here is a great list of other questions you could ask.

  1. Send a Personal Note

Nothing stands out more than a personalized thank you note in this digital age. Don’t just write a generic one beforehand, wait until after the interview and reference specific things you talked about. Send it as soon as you can after the interview ends, preferably the same day so they get it within a couple business days. An email can be sent as well since mail does take a bit longer.

  1. Be Yourself!

Preparing for interviews can seem draining and make you feel like a cardboard cutout of yourself. It is important to let your personality shine through. At the end of the day, you can have all the qualifications in the job description, but you still have to seem like a person they want to work alongside every day.

Did you find these tips helpful? What else would you add to this list?

Abby Cousineau is a senior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. She is currently serving as president of EMU PRSSA and is excited to be leading such a creative and dedicated group of individuals. You can usually find Abby outside anytime the weather is nice or otherwise spending her time behind a computer screen, working on one of her design projects. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.

3 Tips to Get Into Grad School

By: Madison Harmon

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Applying to graduate school can often be a very stressful time. Much like going to college for your undergrad degree, there are several steps you have to take to make sure you’re going to the get the most out of your college experience. Note that what you might have looked for in a college for your Bachelor’s most likely won’t be the same when you go to get your Master’s.

Here are three simple and easy tips for applying to grad schools!

  1. Excel Spreadsheets are your friend! It’s a great way to stay organized. Use it to keep track of dates, requirements, and to use as a checklist (I use color coding for priority items!)
  2. Visit! Just like undergrad, you’re going to be spending some time at this place so make sure it’s something you like! I’m personally sick and tired of Michigan winters, so I’m looking at schools in the Southwest to make a transition!
  3. GRE! Take advantage of the summer to study for the GRE – even though that’s not really what summers are for… But that extra preparation could pay off if you have a dream school in mind with stern requirements for the GRE score.

Madison is a student and loves learning no matter what she’s doing. She is both an optimist and a realist, which gets a bit hard to maintain! She is independent and self-assured, both in her personal and professional potential, and in her ability to find the bottom of those supposedly bottomless chips and salsa. Petter of dog bellies, ruler of quips, Madison is sure to make you laugh whenever you’re around her (or cry, but don’t take it personally). Ask her for brutally honest opinions, but never for directions. Madison can be reached at

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.

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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.  

PRSSA graduation cords!

Graduation will be here before you know it! If you’re a PRSSA member who is graduating in April, graduation cords are currently for sale. Click here to purchase! The official color of PRSSA is navy blue.

And the countdown begins…

By: Anissa Gabbara

It’s 2017! If you’re a senior, this year symbolizes one thing and one thing only…graduation! Many of us will soon be walking alongside our peers, making one of the biggest milestones in our lives. Until then, we’re longing to checkout early. Although our minds have been consumed with the thought of receiving a diploma, it’s important that we’re putting just as much thought into what we’re going to do after we throw our caps and gowns into our closets to collect dust, and place our diplomas in a nice frame. Here are my words of advice to graduating seniors:



Keep your eyes on the prize.

The workload during the final semester of college can get quite intense, and it’s normal to feel stressed out or anxious for graduation to hurry up and get here, but know that each day brings you one step closer to receiving your degree! Remember, you didn’t come this far for nothing!



Enjoy being a student.

Enjoy the convenience of being a student while it lasts. I like to think of college as being our final “safe place” before stepping into the “real world.” College is a place where we still have time to find ourselves, make mistakes, and discover new interests. You may not realize it now, especially if you’re drowning in debt and hours of classes and work, but there are luxuries of being a student. For example, people tend to be more forgiving because they know you’re still learning. Out there in the real world, people will no longer hold your hand, as you’re expected to know everything.



Chase your dreams.

Corny, right? Call it what you want, but the last thing you want to do is wake up one day saying, “I wish I would’ve done that.” Life after college is the kind of freedom we thought we had when we graduated from high school. Take that freedom and run with it. Our possibilities are endless and our potential goes far beyond a degree. In other words, if you’re a public relations major, but have dreams of winning the Super Bowl, becoming America’s next top model, or even the next Beyoncé, go for it! We just might see you at the Grammys.

Use the next four months to think about where you want to see yourself in the next year. Set goals, reach them, and repeat. It’s all up to you, but take it easy. This time in a college career is bittersweet, so please cherish it while you still can.

Cheers to 2017!

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.  

Things to get into the habit of before graduating

By: Nikki Mikolon


Photo created by Nikki Mikolon using Canva

As students, going to school has been our sole focus for many years. For 12 years now we have been in school, and then go four or more years to further our education in hopes of landing our dream job. A career is definitely the end goal, but many students are focused on school and need to be reminded that after school ends, the real world begins. Changing schools is easy. Starting a career can be intimidating. After all, this is what we have been preparing for our whole college career and practically our whole life.

Here are some tips from recent graduates working in the field about some habits to get into now to make the transition smoother after graduation:

Time and deadlines are serious business.

Natalie Burns, EMU ’16 graduate emphasizes the importance of staying on top of things.

“Deadlines are still VERY important. So getting in the habit of turning work in on time still applies even outside of school.”

Erica Tackett, MSU ’16 graduate also emphasizes deadlines, but wants to remind students to pay attention to time while working.

“Be aware of time spent on tasks. In the “real world” that everyone keeps hinting at, you’ll be responsible for billing time to clients in 15-minute increments, if you’re at an agency. Depending on the agency, some of these increments can cost around $25, totaling around $100 an hour. That’s not something you want to mess up.”

Last minute mornings won’t cut it.

Leah Rodriguez, EMU ’15 graduate says that being prepared the night before sets up the next day for success.

“I would say to start preparing for the next day the night before. Have your lunch packed and clothes ironed so you aren’t rushing in the morning. The hours leading up to you going into work are extremely important because it sets a precedent for the day. If you are disorganized and flustered before you go into work, chances are your day will reflect on that.”

Tackett seconds Rodriguez’ request on getting ready the night before while making sure your money doesn’t disappear before your eyes.

“Get on that packing-a-lunch grind. You will get hungry at work, and you will spend too much of your paycheck if you’re going out to eat every day. Get in the habit now.”

Rodriguez also advises students to get used to being on some sort of set schedule before graduating.

“Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day so your body is used to it. The first week of work for me was rough. I was used to waking up at 9 to get to class and going to bed at midnight or 1 a.m. Having to switch that to waking up at 6 and going to sleep at 9 or 10 is a lot more difficult than you think. Get a lot of rest because your brain needs it.”

When your professor said certain skills would help, they weren’t kidding.

Stephen Kurily, EMU ’16 graduate makes it a point to say how much he wishes he would have built his personal brand sooner than later.

“One thing I wish I did before graduating was using my social media (Twitter and LinkedIn) to follow and engage with reporters and outlets in the industries I wanted to work in. Starting to build those connections early will benefit you so greatly when you start your career. Using your social channels to share and retweet stories about trending topics shows potential employers that you are paying attention to what’s going on. This also gives you the chance to start building relationships with reporters, share their work, and tell them what you think about their story. This helps build your personal brand in a major way.”

Tackett reminds us that those skills we learned even before college are essential.

“Don’t stray away from math, especially if you want to work in digital. I spend 75 percent of my time in Excel, working with large data sets (imagine nearly 5,000 rows) and complicated formulas. We use Excel to calculate ad performance, organize and track media flow charts, monitor and calculate costs, and more. I use math every single day in my role to do quick equations on the side, or double-check something a formula is calculating.”

Find something to keep you sane.

Tackett makes another good point when getting used to life after school.

“Get a hobby that’s not your job, seriously. After I graduated and started at my new gig, I became very complacent with my after-work life. Without having homework, student organizations and part-time jobs to fill your schedule, you forget what to do with all the time on your hands. Having a hobby or something you enjoy and look forward to helps.”

We all knew one day graduation would come. For some of us, we will complete our undergraduate degrees and dive right into the workforce. Others may want to learn more before diving in. Whichever path you may choose, be sure to use this advice to prepare for the future.

Nikki Mikolon is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. As a Detroit native, she hopes to spend her beginning years working for the city and being a part of its renaissance. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @nikkimikolon.