What the first semester of a Public Relations MA has taught me

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It’s over. It’s done. I could cry happy tears. Pressing that submit button on the last essay of the first semester was a very good feeling. I can now watch Netflix for two weeks guilt free before the next semester begins… I mean, I can plan for next semester and do lots of productive things. Obviously. So what have I learnt from the experience? I thought I’d share…

first

1.Sorry to break it to you, but postgraduate studies are way more stressful than undergrad. I don’t know if its necessarily the work that’s stressful, more everything that goes along with it. It’s difficult to balance the workload and a job at the same time. Also, there’s not a lot of student nights out to let off steam anymore. Anyone who says it isn’t stressful is superman/woman. Going to lectures, doing assignments, going to work and finding time to have a social life so you don’t go crazy, makes you a bit crazy. Throw in the stress of trying to find work experience and all the extra bits that need to be done to boost your CV and you have a big pot of stress soup. But it’s all going to be worth it. WE CAN DO IT.

2.Social media is life. I think I’ve spent 70% of my life in the last few months on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn- whether it was for this PR blog that was part of an assignment, to stay active in the PR community, to build an online profile/brand, to keep connected with other students or to cry to my friends over Facebook messenger. I feel like social media is the step child you get from a relationship with PR. I always use my 4G allowance now…

3.You’re not alone. I know, all the cheese, but you’re really not. At the beginning of the course I felt thrown in the deep end and like I was the only one feeling lost without a clue. Reality is, most of the others on my course were feeling the same and now we have a lovely bond over our feelings of utter panic. Not just fellow students though- I feel like the PR industry is a community of helpful, friendly people. Lecturers and PR professionals are some of the most helpful, lovely people I’ve spoken too. Everyone offers advice and guidance if you ask for it. Most practitioners have had the same experiences themselves in the past so they’re empathetic and willing to lend a comforting word or a push in the right direction.

4. Being creative in campaigns is so much fun. Realistically, Ant and Dec aren’t going to come to your tea party in Newcastle to promote cupcakes, but in the first semester of PR that insane creativity is encouraged and celebrated! I’ve loved coming up with new and interesting ideas to promote, and even though it’s probably going to have to be more realistic from now on, I feel like my creativity has been given a boost.

5. PR is everywhere. On bus stands, in gyms, on TV, on social media- you name it, it’s there. I’ve started pointing it out and discussing how I would have done stuff differently to receive a confused look from my mum in return. It gets in your brain (in a good way) and you’ll realise how big a part of media PR is.

6. You can get up there and do that presentation. My confidence has grown so much in the last few months. I don’t feel quite as panic stricken at the thought of public speaking- I was just over thinking everything. There’s no reason why I can’t be as confident as the next person!

Have you finished your first semester in PR and have anything to add to the list? Let me know your thoughts below or catch me on Twitter

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