Tag Archives: graduation

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





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:


Source: Pixabay.com

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!


Source: Pixabay.com

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.


Source: Pixabay.com

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.  

Tips for the graduating student

By: Rachel Dwornick


Source: flickr.com

Recently I read an article titled “8 Fears I Have About Graduating College.” (To read the article click here!) All the things listed in the article were fears every college student has, but when thinking about public relations and what advice the mentors provided me at Speed Mentoring I realized I can make it through graduation. These 10 tips are pieces of advice I found to be most helpful with graduation right around the corner.

 1. “Every little job can lead to more.”

 Shelley from the Chelsea Wellness Center talked about the importance of making the most of our current and future jobs. She told us that even that part-time job can lead to more, or can give us experience for future jobs.

 2. “You learn if you are an agency or a corporate person quickly.”

I think this tip is very true and pretty self-explanatory, but it is important to note that you shouldn’t just write off a job at an agency or a corporation at first. It is important to experience both to find what you like. I really enjoyed this article about the differences between corporate and agency PR.

 3.“Writing samples are key!”

 Marisa Bradley, who is the consumer and broadcast communications manager for Ford, stressed the importance of writing samples. Bradley said to not just provide samples of press releases, but also provide samples of tweets, posts and infographics also.

 4.“Social is a big business.”

 Kelly LaVaute is the managing supervisor of social media for Chevrolet at Fleishman-Hillard. LaVaute focused a lot on social media and stressed that social media is growing and is a big business, so it is important to understand and know.

 5.“Relationships with media are still crucial.”

 While social media is big business, relationships with the media are still crucial. Bradley talked about the importance of keeping those relationships because as PR professionals we still need the media. I couldn’t agree more with Bradley. We must still keep or build those relationships with the media to be successful PR professionals.

6.“Don’t stay at one place.”

 Alan D. Hall, who is the communications manager of technology research and innovation for Ford, talked about his journey to become a PR practitioner and said that it is normal to switch jobs and find what you love. Don’t just say at one place, find what you love and where you love.

 7. “Be flexible.”

 It is important to always be flexible, especially when working with clients. LaVaute said things may not go as planned and you have to learn how to handle these situations, especially in the digital age and with social media. Social media is experimental and you have to learn what works for your client or company, said LaVaute. I agree with LaVaute that we must always be flexible as PR professionals. This is a great article on how to use social media successfully.

 8.“The communications world is changing.”

We hear in all our PR classes that communications and the PR world is always changing. We see this in the way the world of social media has developed, but I think it is something we can’t forget. Bradley stressed the importance of never stop learning and continuing your education, even when you are in the PR field.

 9. “Give and receive feedback.”

 LaVaute talked about not only giving feedback but also receiving feedback. It is important to learn how to take feedback, make changes if needed, and grow from it. You must also not be afraid to give feedback to others. I believe that feedback is how we learn, and this is important for any new PR professional starting out in the field.

10.“Turn your mistake into an opportunity.”

 The last and most important piece of advice I received was to turn your mistake into an opportunity. You always have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and at the end of the day we all make mistakes. Instead of focusing on that mistake turn it into an opportunity to learn and grow.

As we head off to graduation and the nerves sink in about what I am going to do next I believe it is important to remember these tips. Graduating from college you may not have it all figured out but I don’t believe you have to. The PR world is ever changing. Give yourself time to find what you love to do.

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.

Words of wisdom for upcoming PR graduates

For some of us, graduation is right around the corner.

We are all very much aware of the dubious job market and want to be able to utilize our expensive degrees.

To ensure a successful transition into employment there are three plans to utilize in the months leading up to graduation.

Source: Van Comm

Source: Van Comm

First, you should be visiting the University Advising Career Development Center located at 200 McKenny Hall. An appointment is required, so call first – 734.498.0400. The ACDC will help you build a resume, assess your skills for a certain job, look for job openings and help with cover letters.

Second, you should try to gather as many letters of recommendation as you possibly can from your student career. These can be from professors, internships, co-ops or volunteer experiences. It helps to know what job you are applying for first so the letters will be more tailored to the employer/position.

Finally, start marketing yourself. Don’t hesitate to use your network connections. Shout it from the rooftops that you are looking for employment and that any company would be lucky to have you. Ask neighbors, family, friends, fellow church members – anyone you can! – if they know about any job openings. One way to get these conversations is to ask people what they do for a living, it always helps to know someone at the company you are applying to.

Graduation is exciting and stressful at the same time. But, as a PRSSA member, hopefully you have gained necessary experience, exposure and insight into the industry which has prepared you for this new chapter in your life.

Marcie Cicciarelli
Vice President of Community Relations

Getting A Job After Graduation

It’s a lot easier for some people and much harder for others.

Getting that job after graduation comes down to a few key factors:

Who do you know that can get you an interview?  What skills do you have to offer an organization and how can you display them?  And how hard are you willing to work to get the job that you want?

Source: Jeff Christian

Source: Jeff Christian

For me, I’ve been on the job hunt since this past December.

I graduated with a degree in PR, had a 3.84 GPA, have done three internships and have been an executive board member of PRSSA for the past year.

Sounds like a pretty good resume, right?

Well, I’ve applied for over 150 jobs in and around metro Detroit since December, and still no job.  I had a handful of interviews, but have yet to find that right fit.

For me, finding a job has been more difficult than any class or school project I ever worked on.

I know what you’re thinking:  “There must be something he’s doing wrong.”

Maybe.  But let me share with you the things that I have been doing before you judge me.

  1. Social Media:  I have a very detailed LinkedIn account and active and unlocked Facebook and Twitter accounts.  I’m using social media to my advantage as much as possible and have used LinkedIn to apply for nearly 1/4 of the jobs I’ve been seeking.
  2. Constant Resume Updating: I’ve been refining my resume every couple of weeks to try and make it as attractive as possible.  I also have a few different versions for different types of jobs I am applying for.
  3. Indeed Obsession: Indeed is the best job search engine I’ve come across.  I try to check it daily and try and be the first to respond to a job post.
  4. Attend Job Fairs: I did nearly 30 short interviews and visited over 100 job booths at the recent EMU job fair at Burton Manor in Livonia.
  5. Get Letters of Recommendation: I have a great letter of recommendation from my last internship and am working on getting one from my best professor.

These things have just scratched the surface.  I spend at least 10 to 15 hours a week on my job hunt.

Hopefully, I’m getting closer.

To me, this old saying is ringing truer than ever: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Networking is now my biggest point of emphasis.

This post isn’t designed to scare upcoming graduates.  Instead, I just want you to understand what you’re in for.  Start contacting people you know now that might have the “in” on a job you may like.

Sam Plymale (BS 12)