By Chybrenna Minton
I will never forget my first weeks at DePaul as a PRAD student. In my introduction classes, I would sometimes be weirdly emotional (the tearing up kind of emotional). I do not know if anyone ever saw me, but I am so thankful no one ever asked me about it. What was happening? Well, in my heart and soul, I just finally felt I was in the right place, on the right path, at the right time. Even though there was more years than I want to admit, between graduating high school and my arrival at DePaul University. I was admittedly a little late, but appreciating and loving every bit of it. This experience has been beyond belief and a dream.
A couple of unforeseen life events made it both a necessity and a possibility to return to school. Incredibly around the same time, I met a veteran’s service officer that made the one phone call that changed my life’s trajectory. My next steps were to take a deep dive into possible careers: I took aptitude, personality, and career placement tests, so the rest is history. I never expected the outcome to be public relations. At the outset, I thought it beyond my reach, mostly because PR had never been on my radar. But as I dug in, I found it to be the path I should have been on for years. I knew I was headed in the right direction.
At first it was a little intimidating as a “non/traditional” student. Between the course work, working in groups, new technology, not to mention all that has happened since 2018 and especially this year alone—it has been an experience within an experience. But the most significant idea about it all is—I was stretched absolutely beyond what I thought I was possible otherwise, and I am better for it. I went from a somewhat cliché outlook on life (opinions and all), to being better able to understand and empathize with others of different backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences.
I would say to my fellow students have an open mind, be honest with yourself and others, continue to develop your skill set, always plan your next steps, be and stay curious, be positive about life and people, and encourage yourself and the people around you.
It is a sad commentary that public relations was not presented as an option to me or my peers throughout high school to have been an option. Though I was in what they call “A level” classes, in hindsight I recognize how weak a label that is when implicit bias is at work. It is a sad commentary, because of the story-telling and voice creating function public relations brings to the table. How much further along would we be as a nation if diversity, equity, and inclusion had become important enough to embed as an initiative in the industry 30-40 years ago? How many tragedies could have been avoided? How many issues could have been addressed and corrected? I had no idea what public relations was or that any person existed to fulfill those tasks.
My hope as a POC is to take this opportunity and make it all that it can be for myself and others. If I were opinionated enough to give advice (which I am), I would say to my fellow students have an open mind, be honest with yourself and others, continue to develop your skill set, always plan your next steps, be and stay curious, be positive about life and people, and encourage yourself and the people around you. I am amazed at the possibilities this PR education at DePaul is already creating for me; I have been truly blessed.