I’m a few weeks into the fall semester at Curry College, where I head the undergraduate Public Relations Concentration and teach most PR courses. The usual bumps in the road have occurred along with a couple of pleasant surprises.
Bumps include a newly-enforced cap on class sizes that ensures I don’t have eager young disciples sitting on the windowsills because all the real seats are filled due to my inability to say “no” to anyone who says he or she wants to take one of my classes.
This “problem” is the result of unbridled enthusiasm from two sources: yours truly…and my students.
I absolutely love what I’m doing…because I’m introducing young men and women to a profession that has consumed my life and been my passion for more than 40 years.
My students get a whiff of my devotion and find themselves being lured into my world. They want to jump in and learn how to swim in the whitewater of my PR pool…a pleasant surprise.
For the students, this is completely voluntary…if they wish to focus their studies on a specific area. I have to stress again the voluntary part. We have a boatload of concentrations in the Communication Department, and we also have a lot of students who choose not to specialize.
What is important is that these folks have figured out that they like and are interested in Communication as a general study area. Some will go on into the communication profession; others will go into another career field. Some will focus on Public Relations; others will find another passion and pursue that.
Whatever the scenario, they all will have been exposed to and have gained a solid understanding of the role that communication plays in business as well as in life.
My goal as the resident PR prof is to ignite not a spark, but a flame of rabid enthusiasm for the opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead, regardless of the individual student’s focus, and most of the time it works. (I’m a realist…can’t convert everyone!)
This happens for one not-so-simple reason…my unbridled enthusiasm for what I am doing.
Students then get caught up in the excitement of the possibilities that lie ahead. They ask the pertinent questions and ensure that they are taking the appropriate courses in preparation for “life after graduation.” And, as part of that preparation, particularly in the PR Concentration, they are encouraged (required in PR) to successfully complete at least one internship although I strongly encourage multiple so that they can experience different professional environments and philosophies.
The end result? The public relations profession, in this case, gains enthusiastic fresh viewpoints, ideas, and eager disciples. And the students themselves gain entry to a career path that can lead them along the way to wonderful adventures.
Although I know the reality is that not everyone is madly in love with what he or she is doing for a living or as a career path, even after all these years I can’t fathom someone working at something day in and day out that he or she loathes. And, working with that mindset, I do my best to show my students that…when you do find the profession that you truly do love…go at it with unabashed and totally unbridled enthusiasm!
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Essays: First Series…Circles”