Preparing for the Future
By Jannah Khalil
I’ve begun my second year as part of Sacramento State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America this semester. I first joined in the fall of 2018, a semester after I had transferred from my junior college and was looking for a place to find out more about what public relations is and what kind of opportunities were out there in this career field. As a journalism major, I knew that I had similar skills that can be transferred into a career in communications and was hoping to gain a better understanding of how to make that happen. So, I decided to join my school’s PRSSA chapter.
My time as a PRSSA member has enriched my college experience immensely. I was able to hear from a various and vast network of professionals and meet like-minded students and peers with similar career interests and goals. The experience has been incredibly valuable and yet I felt like something was missing. While all that I had learned had been enriching, I felt that there were aspects of PR and the communications career field that I had yet to discover and that it was in those unknown areas that I would find where I truly wanted to build my career. It was at PRSSAIC San Diego that I found all my answers.
It’s hard to pinpoint a singular aspect of PRSSAIC that was the most rewarding, but I believe that, overall, the experience can be described as eye-opening. Professionals and people from all over the country convened at the event and getting to hear all their different paths and career journeys made me realize just how many avenues one can take in the field of communications.
As someone who’s goal is to work for an organization that focuses on making the world a better place, I was delighted to get to speak with Mark Pilon, the executive director of Susan. G. Komen Los Angeles County which focuses on helping raise awareness and assistance for breast cancer and those who suffer from it, and really get to understand the aspects of doing PR and communications for a nonprofit and what struggles and benefits come from the responsibility.
I also was able to get to know an employee from VOX, a global PR agency that works on communications for advocacy groups, which opened an entirely new door I hadn’t even known was there. I discovered a sector in which you can mix public policy and public service by helping people trying to make changes in the world spread their message and gain support.
Despite the professionals I was able to meet and the career opportunities I got to discover, I’m even prouder of the connections I made with my fellow peers from across the nation. I had a riveting conversation with some students from Reno, NV about the importance of diversity in PR and how we can make our PRSSA chapter more diverse, and how we can potentially connect our two chapters in the hopes of helping each other do so. That connection really validated my interest in this field, knowing that there were other students out there with similar values and interests and that, through PRSSA and PRSA, they will remain a peer that I can turn to for insight and inspiration.
Of course, none of these amazing things would have ever been possible without the incredibly generous grant provided by the PRSA Foundation. I sincerely express my utmost gratitude for everyone who made this grant possible and for choosing me out of the applications that were received nationwide. I would also like to thank the PRSA Foundation for their support for multicultural students and their dedication to helping them gain meaningful and rewarding experiences based on their merit, above all else. It Is
truly an honor to have been chosen and I thank all that contributed for seeing in me something worth this extraordinary reward.
I look forward to future PRSSA and PRSA events and hope they will be as enlightening as this one. However, in the meantime, I will use all that I have learned at this event to better prepare myself for the job force after graduation and to share what I learned with my PRSSA peers to advocate for their involvement in PRSSA and PRSA as well as help them prepare for the future they too will be facing shortly.