All Work and No Play

After being away from home for my first year at college, I had a few expectations for my summer: one of them being that I would spend a great deal of time working. When I packed my things up to go back home to Harrisburg, I knew that I’d miss the city so to fill my time I planned on doing nothing but working. I originally intended to get a staffing internship at Hershey Park, but when things don’t go as planned, new opportunities arise and I say this from experience. I ended up getting an internship as a Reservations specialist at Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, and what a learning experience that has been.

The first (and probably most important) thing I learned was the customer service industry may not be for me, but that’s what internships are about: finding out what you like and do not like. My days consist of answering phone calls, making reservations for lodging, and answering general questions about Hershey Park. We serve as the guests’ first point of contact with Hershey, and it’s my job to make sure they have a positive experience, which isn’t hard. It can be difficult, but when you talk as much as I do, you get the hang of it. At first I questioned how exactly public relations related to what I was doing, and then I remembered something very important: everything is public relations. It’s probably one of the most important things that I came to realize in my Intro to Public Relations class, which is how I’ve also learned that it takes a special kind of person to provide quality customer service, and that working in the hospitality industry is really built around the relationship between the customer and the company.

I’ve been doing hundred-hour pay periods and at this point, I’ve talked to thousands of people who come from all walks of life. It’s opened my eyes to all the opportunities that can come from even the most unexpected of places, and that’s why I love what public relations can do. It excites me to meet more people, and I’m even more thrilled to get into the field that I’ve chosen.

Overall, I’ve had a pretty tame summer. I learned a lot about what it is like to work in the corporate field, met some amazing people, and spent time with the people that mean the most to me. I’m really looking forward to meeting even more people, and I hope to get an internship this semester. I’m excited to have a great semester with Temple PRSSA, but next summer I really do need a vacation.

By: Thatcher Williams

When One Door Closes..

I always felt I was late in the game when it came to my major. I didn’t decide on public relations until late sophomore year, and by then a lot of my peers had already started their core classes and even had participated in multiple internships. This past spring semester, I realized I had to play catch up- I NEEDED a summer internship. This was a lot harder than I thought. I had never interned anywhere before, so I lacked major experience outside the classroom. Still, I kept trekking on and applied to new places everyday.

 My inbox soon began to fill up with the same response:

“We’ve ultimately decided to go with a more experienced candidate for this position.”

 No one wanted to take a chance on somebody who didn’t have background in PR internships, and although I was frustrated, I understood their decisions. About a week before the 2017 Spring semester ended came a beacon of hope! My sister had emailed me saying the company she worked for in DC was looking for summer interns. Immediately I applied, and got called in for an interview. I traveled to our nation’s capital with high hopes, crushed the interview, and went home satisfied… Little did I know a few days later I’d be notified they didn’t have any room in their communications field for summer interns.

 Again, my frustration arose and I was about to give up when another beacon (more promising for the first one) popped into my inbox. It was from a woman who worked at my sister’s DC office. She knew of an opening for online communications interns through Bossed Up!, a company that offers personal and professional development training for women. With nothing to lose, I applied, and after various interviews I got the job! Through my internship, I have learned so much and continue to learn more everyday.

It is so frustrating getting rejected, but that should never stop you. Perseverance and patience are key when applying for internships, especially if you’re just starting out. Take it from me, when one door closes, another one is sure to open!

By: Lailumah Faisal

Learning to Learn from Every Experience

This summer has been unlike any other summer I have ever had. For the first time, I am spending most of my days away from my home in suburban Philadelphia with my family and home friends. Instead, most of my time is being spent here at Temple. I am currently interning two days a week, and picking up shifts at a restaurant near campus. The days that I’m free, I’ve been hanging around Philly or taking regional rail back to my hometown. Before summer started, I had visions that I would be working full time at an internship, or stacking up as many hours that I could at my part-time job, and saving a lot of money for the school year. Things didn’t exactly pan out that way—but I honestly think it has been for the better.

My internship position is unpaid and two days a week, and I haven’t been given a lot of hours at my other job. Instead of feeling dejected,I have been going about my summer with the mindset that I will learn as much as possible through my experiences. First, I am learning to live within my means and be responsible with my money. Since I’m not making as much money as I have in previous summers, it has taken some adjusting to live a more budgeted lifestyle. Just simple things like making my own coffee in the morning, or grocery shopping instead of eating out make a big difference in my budget. These are lessons that are important to learn now so when I do enter the real world in just a couple years, I know I can adjust to my economic situation of my entry-level salary (assuming the gods of the newly graduated bless my job prospects!).

I’ve also been trying to learn as much as possible while at my internship. I’m learning about industry lingo and the processes that are involved in a public relations campaign. As an intern, though, you might not necessarily get a lot of inside look at the action- so it is important to try to learn from every part of the processes no matter how small they may seem. Besides the industry knowledge and experiences I’m gaining, I’m learning little things like office etiquette, how to blind carbon copy people on an email, practicing my cold calling skills, and I’ve learned I really do have it in me to wake up early and commute to work one day. Although those last ideas might seem silly, it really does make a difference to try to see value in every aspect of your experiences.

This summer, I have found a new sense of independence in myself which will only strengthen my experiences in the future. I now have the confidence that I can budget my expenses, hold my own in an office setting, and have a positive attitude to make the most out of my situations even if they do not live up to my previous expectations. For whatever opportunities come your way—take them. Try something new! You never know what kind of lessons you will learn, and how these experiences will shape you. At the beginning of this summer, I was apprehensive that I would not be doing enough—financially or otherwise—but like everything in life, this summer has been what I’ve made of it. I’ve set out to make it my best summer yet…and I would say I’m achieving my goals.

By: Grace Hanlon

The 411 on Social Media Internships

Whenever somebody asked me “What are you going to do with your life after graduation?”, my immediate response was always, “I would like to be a social media coordinator for a professional sports team.” However, this answer came despite never actually being in charge of any other social media account besides my own before.

Fortunately, I was given the opportunity this summer to intern with a professor from Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at his company, AthleteCRUSH, to put my passions of social media and sports together. Through this experience, I have gained not only a much better understanding of the sports industry and professional figures within it, but have also learned a lot about myself and my capabilities. To anyone thinking of pursuing an internship or career working with social media, here are three tips I have for you!

1. Great organization skills are key.

During my experience this summer, I was the only person responsible for all the content going up on our three social media platforms in addition to writing articles for the website. Organization was key to my success when trying to get the required number of posts out each day and meet my article deadlines. If you fall into this situation like me, my biggest advice is create a media action plan to make your life 100x easier, that way you can map out specifically what post goes out what day and at what time all in advance.

2. Creativity is a must!

Even though many people use social media on a regular basis, it is very easy for them to get bored with an account and even forget about it if there isn’t any eye-catching, fun or different posts. Use social media to your advantage to really showcase your personality and your company or organization’s morals. Put a funny gif out one day to make people laugh, comment on other posts to remind them you still exist, anything! Social media is a constantly evolving and changing world, and if you can be creative and think outside-the-box, you will be very successful working in it!

 

3. Do not be afraid to take risks.

This almost goes hand-in-hand with being creative, but also learn to take risks. At some point during your internship or even future job, there will be a point where your social media following ends up plateauing for a little bit and you’re going to wonder what more you can do to increase your followers. In my case, I reached out to athletes from other sports such as the Olympics, American Ninja Warrior and WWE. Taking this risk meant that we could either lose followers because they wouldn’t like our material being posted or we could gain an entirely new audience. In the end, it paid off for us as this new material has become some of our most viewed work and has also gotten us acknowledgment from many of athletes of those sports as well.

Working in social media can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming, but the experience you will get out of it can help you grow as a communications professional. I hope these tips will be of some help to those of you who wish to pursue social media as a career and to those of you who aren’t 100% sure if it’s something you want to do, I say try it! You never know what you really like or don’t like until you try it and you’ll always be able to gain some sort of skill set from the opportunity.

If you have any questions for me or wish to talk about my experiences in the sports industry, please feel free to reach out to me at a meeting or follow me on Twitter at @laurrrandorder.

 

By: Lauren Marhefka

Not Just Your Typical Summer Job

Hi everyone! I’m Emily McKain, your Director of Community Service for the upcoming school year, and like most of you, I’m maintaining a very busy summer schedule (well, trying to!).

I’m away from Philly and back home for the summer where things move at a much slower pace. I have to drive everywhere and can’t find a store or restaurant open past 9 p.m. It’s been a hard adjustment from the excitement of Philly, but I’m grateful for the time slowing down before the Fall semester begins. I work two jobs and have done some work for the Communications department of Brûlée Catering this summer, but have mostly been keeping it low key.

Little did I know, my summer of taking a break from all things school-related wouldn’t be exactly as I had thought. One of my part-time jobs is working as a Guest Services Associate at Longwood Gardens. Essentially, my responsibilities are to walk around and engage with guests so they have a positive experience. I never thought much of it, until I realized the importance of all the impressions I had left with people. My manager showed me the multiple comments guests had submitted about how my interaction with them helped create a positive experience for them during their trip. I recognized that when you go out of your way to talk with and help people, and make that solid first impression, that sticks with them– and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Since then, I have been more aware of how my interactions play a part in people’s days outside of my job. I keep thinking back to connections I’ve been making in Philly and at Temple with potential internship or networking opportunities. This summer, I’ve been learning how I can apply these same actions at Longwood Gardens to the work I’m doing at school. This way, I’m not just doing it because I’m an employee, but also doing it for my personal brand.

With that being said, I’m learning to take everything I get as an opportunity- even if I wasn’t prepared to do so. My summer job is keeping me on my toes and giving me a learning experience for which I didn’t necessarily ask. However, it’s one I’m going to apply to other aspects of my life and continue. My advice is to take advantage of those opportunities! Big or small, you never know what you’re going to get out of it.

By: Emily McKain

Meet Temple PRSSA’s New President

Hi, everyone! My name is Marissa Piffer, and I’ll be Temple PRSSA’s Chapter President this year. I am beyond excited to take on this role and work with new and returning members this school year.

Marissa, with E-board membersI’ve been a member of Temple PRSSA for three years now. (It’s safe to say that time really does fly by!) I began my journey with PRSSA as a general member during my sophomore year, and worked my way up to being the Director of Fundraising my junior year. Being a member of Temple PRSSA has been one of the most rewarding experiences that has shaped me both professionally and personally.

Through my experience in Temple PRSSA, I have been able to create lasting relationships with my peers who have pushed and encouraged me each day. PRSSA has also given me the opportunity to grow through my leadership roles and help other members succeed as well. Fortunately, I’m  lucky enough to be able to continue a leadership position with PRSSA and help drive its success this school year. PRSSA President

This summer, I’ve been working as a corporate communications intern at Aramark HQ in Philadelphia. My experience with Aramark so far has been nothing short of amazing, and has already given me valuable skills and knowledge in the public relations field. Corporate PR is something extremely new to me, but I love having the opportunity to explore more areas of public relations. Previously, I held internships at the American Heart Association and a digital marketing agency called Small Talk Media

Being at Temple has certainly given me the chance to turn Philadelphia into my classroom. As a Strategic Communication major with a PR concentration, I love that my major is broad enough to make it whatever I want it to be.

Now, the “Fun” Stuff….

I’m a Philadelphian, born and raised. Growing up in the northeast part of Philadelphia, I knew there was still plenty to discover in the city I called home my entire life. (Shocking fun fact: I’ve actually never had a cheesesteak from Pat’s or Geno’s….how “un-philadelphian” of me)  Being at Temple has given me the opportunity to get to know an entire new community of Philadelphians professionally.

MilkhouseDuring the summer, I love to spend my time with my toes in the sand with a great book at the beach. Summer nights down the shore with family and friends is one my favorite things I look forward to each year. My favorite beach to hang out at would definitely be North Wildwood, NJ, but I’m excited to visit more beaches this summer!

I’ve also expanded my appetite this summer with all of the delicious local eateries in Philadelphia. Great food with great company is certainly one of my favorite pastimes, and what better place to expand my tastebuds than Philly. Milkhouse

Some of my favorite go-to spots in the city include the Reading Terminal Market, Shake Shack, Marathon Grill, Milk House Grilled Cheese & Ice Cream, El Vez and Penang. When I’m not searching for my new favorite restaurant, I also search for new coffee spots across the city, too.

In my free time, I love to work on my photography skills with my new camera. Learning how to take and edit nice photos is a skill I love expanding on, and I can’t wait to see how I grow with it. Aside from photography, I also LOVE to spend my nights in Old City and Penn’s Landing.

For the rest of the summer, I plan to spend it preparing for another great year in PRSSA, and I can’t wait to get started! See you all soon.

-Marissa  

By: Marissa Piffer

 

A Summer Abroad..

I have always wanted to visit the United Kingdom, and I am thrilled I have the opportunity to study abroad in London for five weeks. Over the course of five weeks, I hope to explore the city of London and soak in as much of the British culture as possible. I am fascinated by the rich history of England, the artifacts, castles, and buildings, which are so well-preserved or so I have heard.

I would love to meet local London residents to learn what they do in their day-to-day lives. I find it interesting to compare American culture to Great Britain, and find so many similarities and differences. I would also like to discover how the people of England feel about American politics, and the new president of the United States. Some people may not care and others might have strong opinions, but I think understanding an outsider’s viewpoint of the American political system would be quite fascinating.

I had my doubts about studying abroad, rather than applying for an internship this summer, but I believe the experiences I am going to have on my trip abroad will help me in my future career as a public relations professional. My experience abroad is a talking point for employers, and can broaden my network with professionals in another country.

Lastly, I hope to learn about British mass media and communication. I am a strategic communication major, and want to learn about a foreign media system. It will be interesting to uncover whether or not British media has extreme biases like American media, and if that affects British citizens’ views on the media, positive or negative. I can’t wait to share my experiences on my blog, and all the fascinating things I will learn on my trip.

To hear more about my experiences, feel free to check out my blog at jeremyrinlondon.wordpress.com.

By: Jeremy Rives