I have good weeks in my multiple roles of public relations
professional, public relations professor, and public relations
mentor. And I have not-so-good weeks.
This one…so far…has been nothing short of amazing.
Here in balmy New England, we’re finally emerging from the aftermath of a blizzard that gave me two unplanned days off… “found time” in which I managed to write and submit a book review, schedule two speaking engagements, and get a boatload of badly-needed sleep.
So, after not having my “normal” set of four classes on Monday, I meandered down on Tuesday to Curry College, where I ride herd over the Communication Department’s Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses, for my one evening class…“Crisis Communication Management.”
Didn’t really have a lot scheduled…planned to catch up on paperwork and grab some time with a couple of colleagues who I don’t often have a chance to see.
I opened my office door, unloaded my stuff, sat down, and it started…a steady procession of students, all eager to talk about their forays into the world of public relations.
- One has scored an informational interview with a very cool entertainment/music promotion company. She loves music. Her Dad is a musician. It’s in her DNA.
- Another is weighing the benefits of a couple of internships that will allow him to make use of his passion for social media communication.
- The third wanted to update me on her current internship and all she has learned. I was blown away by her obvious excitement…and by what she has done.
I found myself feeling like a kid in a candy store as I talked with each. I was having serious flashbacks to my own experiences as a Public Affairs Intern for the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command down in Virginia…the excitement of the unknown.
What I realized as I talked with these future PR professionals was that a willingness to dive into the deep end of the pool…not really knowing what’s going to happen but open to the idea that it might be fun…is so very important.
- How many different materials did Thomas Edison try before hitting on the one that produced the electric light bulb?
- Where did Christopher Columbus wind up when he set out looking for a “shortcut” to India?
The thing I’ve come to recognize after a “few” years in the working world is that nothing new happens unless you’re open to the idea of trying unknown or different things for the sake of just tryingthem.
As I say time and again, sometimes things blow up or don’t work. So be it. Worst case scenario…you don’t do thatagain.
As a kid, I stuck a metal nail file in a wall socket to see what would happen. Found out fast. Blew out the house’s electrical system and apparently turned a marvelous shade of blue myself. Lesson learned!
But, as I have come to recognize, you learn from these experiences. And, if you’re truly adventurous…or curious…you’ll try things again, just in a different way.
And you learn more…you gain more experience and knowledge.
But it all comes from your belief that it canbe done…you just have to figure out how.
Internships are a way to experiment with your professional future. At this point as a student, you don’t really know what it is that’s going to make you jump out of bed in the morning eager to get to work and make a difference in some way.
So you try new things…internships, for example…to see how they “feel.” You gain new experience. And you learn a LOT about yourself in the process that you can now apply to your slowly-developing “life plan.”
And it’s all thanks to the “positiveness of optimism.”
“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” – James Branch Cabell, “The Silver Stallion” , ch. 26