Editor’s note: Please consider donating to Quotes’ GoFundMe to help the club’s executive board attend the FPRA Annual Conference.
By Brooke Jones
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a princess when I grew up. And a ballerina. And an astronaut. However, as I started growing up, I realized none of those career options were viable for me. After I graduated high school, everyone and their mother (and my mother, for that matter) asked, “So, what next?”
What next. Those two words will drive any 18-year-old out of their mind. Truth be told, I didn’t have a clue, other than I was going to UCF and needed to make up my mind quickly.
At my freshman orientation, an advisor told me I had enough credits to be a junior, so I needed to pick a major. Immediately. In a panic, I said the first thing that popped into my mind – advertising. I’ve always been a creative girl and, well, Mad Men made advertising look interesting, so why not? I was feeling pretty good about my declaration until the advisor asked, “Do you mean advertising and public relations or marketing”? After glancing at the class requirements for each of the majors and seeing business calculus under marketing, I obviously picked advertising and public relations, whatever that was. Little did I know that was going to be the best decision I made during my college career.
Over the next couple of years, I fell in love with public relations. Every class I took was interesting and they all built upon each other. My classes taught me how to write, create and effectively communicate. I tried my hand at a few internships and discovered the vast amount of career opportunities and different employers a PR practitioner could have.
It wasn’t until I joined UCF Quotes that I got the most out of my student experience. Before Quotes, I was isolated in my love for public relations. Once I joined, I began to form connections and friendships with both professionals and my peers. Finally, I was able to share my passion with like-minded people. Quotes gave me the ability to be a part of a professional association, networking opportunities, fun tour experiences, and so much more. Because of Quotes, I was able to go on a behind the scenes tour of EA Sports and hear a presentation from Daryl Holt, the chief operating officer. I was able to enter the FPRA’s Image Awards and ultimately go home with an award. I found an internship that turned into a job at Intern Pursuit, a networking event Quotes cohosts every fall and spring semester. Quotes helped shape me into a well-rounded, well-connected advertising and pubic relations student.
For any advertising and public relations student, my advice to you is in addition to working hard in classes, get involved with Quotes and other similar clubs. Like everything in life, you’ll get out of this field what you put in. In order to be successful, you must work hard, listen to feedback and make connections. Start applying for internships as soon as you can and try to complete a variety of them. I never thought I would want to work in an agency, but after interning at one, I found I like agency life and accepted a job there. You’ll never know what you like unless you try it, and internships are a great low-pressure way to try things out.
Now as I’m about to graduate college, I know the inevitable “what next” question is going to be coming. But the question that had my 18-year-old self terrified no longer seems daunting. My time as an advertising and public relations major at UCF and a member of Quotes has prepared me for what’s next to come, a fulfilling career in public relations.