Attending the Public Relations Student Society of America’s 2018 National Conference enabled me to gain skills and experiences that I will keep with me for the rest of my life and professional career. Highlights included meeting and getting to know students from across the country, and obtaining invaluable advice and insights that made me even more excited to begin my career in public relations.

At the Far Out in Austin Welcome Reception, I was able to meet peers from various PRSSA Chapters, including Texas, Illinois, New York, Argentina and Florida. I attend a large college with students from across the globe, but this was my first opportunity to interact in a smaller group with people from different locations, all sharing a common passion. During roll call I realized that each PRSSA Chapter added a unique perspective and flair to the Conference, and student members will bring that with them as they grow in their professional careers.

Receiving advice from seasoned public relations professionals with varying backgrounds, I better understood how to be an asset to any organization. A living legend of public relations, Raymond L. Kotcher, Fellow PRSA, encouraged me to continue building my relationships with my peers and mentors. Additionally, I learned that it is important to be aware of my strengths and limitations and to improve in both areas. Another legend, Cheryl I. Procter-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA, shared her experience in staying true to her values by applying her parents’ advice given to her during childhood, “you might have to consider not being that person’s friend anymore,” to the workplace. When my values are questioned in the profession, I will be reminded of that quote and feel confident in making decisions that do not put my values and reputation at risk.

The various sessions reinforced my desire to be a public relations professional. After the breakout sessions ended, I went back to my hotel room and began researching agencies that I would be interested in working for. The Conference deepened my love for public relations and its purpose to mutually benefit companies and the public.