By Bryanna St. Pierre
Moving from a town of about seven thousand to a city of three million people in the matter of a month is a huge leap for anybody, especially a college freshman. While trying to figure out the train system and street names, I pinch myself realizing I am in the Loop at eighteen years old starting my career in public relations in Chicago. My first networking event with PRSSA began on the 20th floor to visit DePaul University’s Office of Public Relations and Communications (OPRC).
Stepping out of the elevator, the group and I headed towards the largest meeting room on the floor. Glass doors lined the entrance and windows stretched along the far wall to capture the breathtaking skyline. A long wooden table took up the majority of the room with chairs surrounding all sides. I sat down with a handful of students from PRSSA along with employees from OPRC. They represented the different departments within the office that include: public relations, issues management and crisis communications, media relations, social media, executive communications and visual services.
Welcoming our group was Carol Hughes, the executive director of news and integrated content for DePaul. Carol asked everyone to introduce themselves around the table and to say where they are from and what internships students obtained over the years. Sadly, I did not have any experience to share, but I hope to get an internship by my sophomore year. The rest of the staff introduced themselves and explained what they do for each of their departments. They gave advice on how to write a resume and cover letter and explained what working as an intern for their office would be like. Being able to connect with these important people in a one-on-one manner showed how easy networking can be.
Next, Carol gave us a tour of the office space. One of the women commented on how throughout the day, “the work environment is filled with collaborations and laughter.” The space seemed warm and inviting to any new or experienced public relations professional. We were also able to see a soundproof room for specific purposes like video and audio recordings, along with other meetings rooms and cubicles. Carol seems to enjoy her work and space, which makes me want to work for DePaul as well.
Overall, the experience was more than I could have asked for. Being one of the youngest of the group helped me understand two things. Number one, I am aware of how much work lies ahead of me. Number two, not knowing what specific career path I would like to take in Public Relations is okay right now. Through various visits and networking programs, I hope to figure out what area of expertise I will thrive the most in. I am grateful for the opportunity and ecstatic to see where my career goes through the help of PRSSA.