College Life

College Signing Day: Why I chose Southeastern Louisiana University by Jasmine Tate

May 1 is a day when students across the country make a decision that will have a significant impact on their life. Where we spend college can lay the foundation for our future and College Signing Day also known as College Decision Day is a celebration of that important decision.

With thousands of institutions to choose from students often become overwhelmed with questions and pressure including if they’ll make the right choice, where their friends will be, if they’ll be able to make new friends, and if they will succeed. I believe choosing to pursue higher education is a great first step by understanding unique needs and wants and doing research to find a good fit, students can and will make the right choice. Its also important to remember:

  • Education is not limited to where you attend college or what you learn in your chosen institutions’s classrooms or campus.

  • No matter where you go you will learn and grow.

Although there are many factors to consider here are several that stand out that could help you make your decision or learn more about my alma mater and experience at Southeastern Louisiana University.

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Narrowing Focus by Jasmine Tate

Each year thousands of students pursue degrees in public relations hoping to be the next Samantha Jones or Olivia Pope.  After discovering the profession, my goal was to earn a degree and become a practitioner.

“You can’t find a job in public relations by searching Monster.com.”
-          Joseph Mirando, PhD. , Professor, Southeastern Louisiana University

Dr. Mirando drilled this into my head throughout my undergraduate career. When expressing my desire to work in public relations, most people ask what that entails. The public relations profession uses simple yet strategic practices for a large variety of responsibilities. In addition, there are many different directions and disciplines you can take.  Three elements to consider:

1.      Corporate vs. Agency

2.      Public vs. Private

3.      Industry

Credit:  Aldos80

Credit: Aldos80

As I worked to gain experience in a number of ways, I was able to evaluate my skills and interests to change my response when asked about my career aspirations. 

I once answered “I want to be a public relations professional.” My answer now is: “My long-term career goal is to become the community relations director for a professional sport's team.”

That reply often prompts greater discussion, but it is much more focused. My passions for service and sports merge through the role of a community relations professional. While that concept is simple, I took a much more strategic approach to narrowing my interest. There are several ways to discover the best fit for you in the communications or public relations industries. I wanted to share the process I took to discover my desire to become a community relations director and begin my pursuit of success as a professional.

What you need

-          Experience (volunteer experience, internships, jobs, class projects, etc.)

-          Legal notepad/ writing paper

-          Writing utensil

Instructions

-          Find a quiet area with a limited possibility of distractions.

-          Identify your passions and solid skills.

-          Think about your previous experiences.

-          Make three lists.

1.      Things you like about each experience

2.      Things you don’t like about each experience

3.      Things that will be required as an industry standard

-          Compare your lists to gauge the industries, roles and responsibilities of positions that align with your passions, interests and skills.

Note: This method can also be completed on a computer. Use the most comfortable tools for you. 

Although I didn’t complete this process until the start of my last semester of graduate school, it can be applied earlier in your academic career and allow greater opportunities to gain experience and connections. Even after you narrow your focus, always be open to other possibilities.

Are you a public relations professional or aspiring practitioner? What steps did you take to narrow your focus? Are you struggling with which PR path to take? Try my method. Please share your results.

XX,

Jasmine C. Tate

 

The Secret to Success… Revealed by Jasmine Tate

Photo by D'Anthony Jackson

Photo by D'Anthony Jackson

The information and resources available online through Google, Linked In and various other sites are limitless. In addition to applying for every position I’ve found that I’m qualified for and matches my interests in the past few weeks, I’ve also reached out to professionals who currently have the position of my dreams.

“Your first job won’t be your dream job.”

I’ve heard it several times and different ways. Thankfully, as I’ve mentioned before public relations professionals are extremely generous when it comes to helping others achieve success, especially aspiring practitioners. Although your first position of your career may not be your "dream job," it should be a stepping stone to help you attain it. 

Throughout the last five years I’ve attended more than a dozen conferences, heard from various industry leaders and networked with the best of the best. Beyond proficiency in writing and public relations skills, the advice given by most successful practitioners is similar.

1.       Pursue your passion and find ways to incorporate it into everything you do.

2.       Take advantage of opportunities to get involved.

3.       Build your résumé and portfolio with quality demonstrations of experience beyond the classroom.

4.       Develop a solid network with meaningful, “mutually beneficial” relationships.

5.       Be genuine and authentic in who you are and the skills you have to offer.

I have recently spoken with community relations directors for various professional sports teams. After conversations via email and phone calls, I finally get it. I have unlocked the big secret I’ve been searching…

And what I’ve found is that there is no secret. Most insights I gained were no different from things I’ve heard throughout my academic career from peers, professors and professionals alike. As a believer I had to realize that when you take advantage of people, resources and words of wisdom and do everything you can to reach success, it is sometimes a matter of practicing patience for God to deliver on His promises and reveal His will for your life.

So, if you’re like me constantly seeking “the big secret.” You can stop now, because there isn’t one. If you disagree, please share. If there’s something I’m missing, I would love to know what it is. Enlighten me. Share below.

XX,

Jasmine C. Tate