I’m back from the Public Relations Society of America‘s International Conference and am more-or-less reasonably refocused on my “day job” of teaching most of the public relations courses in Curry College’s undergraduate Communication curriculum.
Had a chance to hang out with some very smart PR professionals while at the Conference as well as some very bright young PRSSA (PR Student Society of America) members who hold great promise for our profession’s future.
But now back to the “reality” of higher education and its challenges and opportunities.
This afternoon, though, while waiting for our shuttle to ferry me to the local subway station, I had an unexpected yet very invigorating chat with two former students, one of whom is interested in pursuing a career in public relations, the other undecided at this point.
The young lady is set. She’s actively involved in the Curry College PR Student Association, is diligently taking all the required courses for the PR Concentration, and has her eyes set on an internship that will get her foot in the door of the profession.
The young man is hovering. He kind of knows where his interests lie. He just doesn’t know exactly how to proceed both in college and in life after. But as he and I talked, I realized that he has his act firmly together.
What struck me was the unabashed youthful enthusiasm both of these young people showed. They are eager. They are interested. They are motivated.
This, in turn, reminds me that my job as a public relations professional now teaching the next generation(s) of PR pros doesn’t end when my “troops” head off the stage with their diplomas clutched tightly in their hands.
No. This is a long-term commitment that promises these young people that I…and countless others…are standing by to help, to advise, to console, and to encourage. Our “bond” says that I, as the veteran, will share my knowledge, my experience, my lessons learned, and my dreams with those who choose to listen.
While this sounds daunting…and to otherwise “normal” people it probably would be…this should be the norm, especially for those of us in public relations. That’s our job…providing guidance and counsel.
But there is a “payback” in this that comes from seeing our young charges mature over the course of four years into eager, competent young men and women for whom the world, as Forrest Gump said, “is like a box of chocolate.”
From us, they get the introduction to their futures…a peek at what lies ahead as a reward for their diligence and dedication.
From them, we get the assurance that the future lies in good hands…that the groundwork we have laid either as PR professionals or PR professors or a combination of the two will be maintained and strengthened.
It all starts with a simple(-ish) state of being, that of unabashed youthful enthusiasm.
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Essays: First Series. Circles”