By Rachel Ilardi, Quotes UCF
Since high school, I knew the Advertising/Public Relations program at UCF was where I wanted to be. When I stepped onto campus last fall, I knew I was one step closer to my goal.
Coming from a high school graduating class of 60 students, the sheer size of the campus and student population was a culture shock. The campus was larger than any school I had experienced and I was surrounded by 67,000 of my closest friends walking to and from class. To say it was a little overwhelming would be an understatement. Yet, the first day I walked into Introduction to Public Relations with Professor Lindsay Hudock, I knew this was where I was meant to be.
At some point in the transfer process, I heard about a club called Quotes. I wanted to be more involved in my school, and decided to try it out. Who knew the profound impact it would make on the rest of my time at UCF.
As I continued to deal with the culture shock of a large university, I didn’t know anyone, certainly not in the Nicholson School. A lecture hall filled with 300 students was something I had never experienced. It was like looking at a sea of humanity, and not a soul I could recognize. There was comfort in the fact that I could hide in the masses. At the same time, I was in desperate need of a community.
Quotes became the community I desperately needed at UCF, a place where I wasn’t just a face in the crowd. It was a group of people with similar interests who could also help guide the way along my career path. I wasn’t alone in my love for, and sometimes geeking out about, public relations.
In this community, I was able to branch out and meet professionals who I could look up to as I walked out this college journey. People who could tell me what it’s like to walk a day in their shoes and open me up to new possibilities in the field. Each Quotes tour and FPRA event was a new adventure, a peek into what my future could hold. They provided new ideas of where I may want to go in the field and showcased practical trends and tools in the PR profession.
Before entering my time at UCF, I never knew I could be so excited about my career. I never knew the infinite amount of possibilities the future could hold. I attended my first Intern Pursuit and was overwhelmed by the amount of possibility that was held in that room. A few weeks later, I accepted my first public relations internship with Florida Hospital’s Corporate Communication team. After staying on for two semesters, it has opened my eyes to the aspect of media relations and how vital it can be for a PR professional.
Today, I know without a doubt that public relations is the place for me, just as I did my first day on campus. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I look forward with great expectancy and assurance in finding my niche in the world of public relations. In the end, my experiences with Quotes will be a guiding force in my professional decisions.
If you’re a student curious about Quotes, join us at The Pop Parlour on campus at 4:30 p.m. August 30 to learn more, while enjoying some delicious handcrafted popsicles. Are you an employer with a passion to invest in the next generation of PR professionals? Contact Jonathan Gabriel at email@example.com to learn more about getting involved with Quotes.