Am I the only one amazed that it’s nearing the end of April? It seemed like the winter lasted for like 7 years, but the spring is flying before my eyes so quickly that I can’t even stop to enjoy it! The end of the semester is near, my motivation to do anything remotely related to school is pretty much nonexistant, and I’m ready for warm weather, flowers, and to give my brain a rest.

I’m going to be honest and say that this public relations class was literally one of the hardest classes I’ve ever had to take at Grand Valley so far (and during our last class discussion, I’m not the only one that thought so!)… Maybe it’s because I was so clueless at the beginning so I was trying my absolute best to keep up, maybe it was all the writing and blogging, maybe it was the fact that it was a 10 am class and getting the motivation to get up in the mornings was a struggle in itself. It’s a really hard class! But, I’m actually really proud of how far I’ve come in these (long, cold, wintry) months.

Take, for example, our campaign planbook for our university client, Men In Action. They’re a rape-prevention group on campus who is struggling to find members. The first day of class when my professor talked about said campaign book, I literally had no idea what she was talking about. With the help of my professor, classmates, and research, I came up with tactics like giving away free stuff to students and co-hosting an event on campus. Okay, maybe they’re not the most creative of ideas, BUT a few days ago, I handed in my professionally bound, 41-page (but I mean, who’s counting..?) campaign book and I’m really proud of the result. I never would have thought I could do it, really.

And these blog posts? Sure, it may have been annoying to come up with a topic and sources to match, but I think I’ve run a pretty successful blog, if I do say so myself. Also, keeping this blog up-and-running will give me something to do during the summer!

I think the skills that I’ve learned throughout the semester will be able to help me whichever direction I decide to go in, if I can ever decide… I think it’s important for most all careers to have some sort of background in communications in public relations, because we use these skills pretty much every day.

So reflecting on this past semester and wrapping up my final blog post (and doing pretty poorly on the online final exam…whoops), I’m actually really glad I took this class. I met some great people in the class, had exciting class discussions that I was actually interested in, I created a real campaign that I can use in a portfolio if I so desire, my professor was knowledgeable and down-to-earth, and I now actually know what “public relations” means beyond Samantha in Sex and the City. I’d say that’s a pretty successful semester.

And let’s not forget to mention, that 41-page campaign I talked about will definitely help me in other, future classes. A 6-page paper? 8 pages? 12 pages? Piece of cake.

Public Relations Background

Coming into this class I don’t really have a huge amount of background knowledge on Public Relations. My favorite show, Sex and the City, features a Public Relations executive as one of the four main characters and most of my knowledge stems from this as well as one of my best friends whose major is PR. Samantha Jones, the character from Sex and the City, owns her own firm in which she hosts many parties for various companies and groups, showcasing a specific idea or product. For instance in one episode, she put together a book release party for the publishing company of her friend and author, Carrie Bradshaw. Also my friend is currently a PR major and hopes to become some kind of publicist to handle press and media coverage for clients. This, essentially, is my understanding of Public Relations, taking an idea or some creation and communicating it in such a way that the general public understands and reacts in a desirable fashion, thus becoming a middle man between a client and the world. My major, Health Communications, I feel goes hand in hand with this class because I know that eventually I will have to be in contact with a group of people or the public and relay the clients objectives. Another one of my intrigues for this class is that I believe that PR people run the world because they are the ones who everyone consults before letting things go public so mainly they’re the ones who get final say over what goes where. I realize that I’m probably skating over the topic but this is my first class of this kind and I am eager to jump in with both feet. My baseline knowledge comes from my experiences through other people and this is the first time dipping my toe into this narrow field and like I said, I’m excited!