Public Relations - A Reflection

This Reflective Piece has been written as part of my Digital Media module at University. 

Prior to starting University, I took several years out to “figure it out” and try a couple of different industries. I worked for a hotel group, a building society, a jewellery shop and finally a Secondary School before returning to Higher Education.
I missed education and learning, but it wasn’t until I explored my personal interests; social media, blogging, writing and communicating, that I discovered PR and how suitable the industry was to me and my strengths.

The modules I have completed so far during Years 1 and 2 have given me a real broad overview to PR and it’s supporting disciplines. PR Trends and PR skills provided an in-depth knowledge into the PR industry whilst Marketing Comms and Global Business demonstrated how and where PR fits within the wider business environment.
The course has been a good combination of theory and methods with practical work experience and internships. The collaboration between academic tutors and industry professionals have provided me with a rounded and realistic applicable skill set to prepare me for PR working life after graduation.
Personally, I thrive on structured class room learning and am interested in the history and theory of Public Relations however I have thoroughly enjoyed the practical side and portfolio building element of the degree.

The additional opportunities I have been involved with aside from the core lectures and seminars have been the most beneficial element of the course. Not only have I been involved in workshops and presentations around PR and Leeds Beckett, the University have also arranged several Guest Lectures which I have been lucky enough to attend. These talks have really widened my knowledge on a whole range of topics, from PR and Brand Development to Corporate Fraud and Whistleblowing in international business. It’s fascinating to have the opportunity to learn from different people and their experiences as well as networking at industry events.

During my first year, I continued to work part time as a Publicity Officer in a Secondary School, managing lots of internal PR as well as local press liaison. It was invaluable to immediately put into practice the skills I was learning in the classroom.  I also completed a five week placement at Digital Marketing and SEO Agency, Epiphany, at the end of first year where I learnt a phenomenal amount about SEO, online PR and Agency life.

I was extremely fortunate enough to study communications in Australia for the first semester of Year 2 and it truly was the most exciting and rewarding experience. As well as providing the means to make new friends and key contacts, it also added an international dimension to my knowledge and portfolio. Amongst the many other things I share on my blog, I published photos and memories from my travels, as well as writing articles for Student Wire and the CrUWSible, University of Western Sydney Student newspaper, about how I prepared for my study abroad experience and how I was settling in.

Although I have a variety of Agency internships lined up for the summer, from experience I feel my main path will be in-house PR. I am eager to be fully invested in one particular brand and build strong relationships within a select industry.
My passion is for tourism and hospitality and many of the agencies I have secured for work experience manage clients in this industry. I am currently considering studying a Masters in Tourism after my degree, and could definitely see a future for myself in Academia and Lecturing alongside industry work.

I have really loved learning about PR and thrive on the fast paced, ever changing nature of the discipline. I have enjoyed the mixture of content creating and creativity with theory and methodology.  I think experience and contacts are necessities in this industry and that is where my priorities are focused going into third year to ensure that I stand out against other graduates.

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