Posted At: January 1, 2008 10:44 AM
by Alexandra Weaver
Thinking about entering the real word can be quite intimidating. It is hard to imagine life without school as an undergraduate student, but it all ends before you know it and the thoughts of the real world become reality.
Throughout my undergraduate career, I have often wondered what public relations is like outside of the lecture hall. So, this being my senior year, I decided to find out from recent graduate Reaghan Roper, the communication membership coordinator for The Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association in Nashville Tennessee. Roper handles the public relations and communication efforts for the nonprofit association.
The Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association is the only food trade association that represents all segments of Tennessee’s food market, which include grocery and convenient store operations along with companies that are associated with these stores. The association’s membership is comprised of retail grocery store and convenience store operations as well as food industry suppliers.
“We serve the needs of grocery and convenience store owners by communicating legislation that affects their operations, as well as industry news and networking events,” explained Roper.
Since Roper does not work in an agency, she doesn’t work with a client list. However, Roper feels as though the TGCSA is one big client—probably because she serves as a designer, editor, event planner, new member recruiter and assistant to the president of TGCSA in communicating new legislation to members of the association.
Because Roper has so many responsibilities the only thing typical in her day is the wake up call at 6:30 a.m. She begins every day by checking her e-mail and because her responsibilities change daily, there is always something new to learn.
“I enjoy that I am always doing something different each day. Our association is set up on a yearly cycle so the tasks are the same each year, but each day it varies so much,” said Roper.
With a job that is different from day to day, the time of year also determines what responsibilities Roper must fulfill. For example, Roper works on the association’s major convention between February and April. During the rest of the year, she may work on the association’s magazine, newsletter or lobbying efforts.
Being a recent graduate Roper said adjusting to the real world wasn’t hard because the courses she took in college and the internship she had in New York prepared her for a smooth transition. Although not having to finish a paper or study for tests can be nice, she misses college.
“I often find myself missing my friends. It is so hard with everyone being in different areas to get together,” said Roper. “I also miss school and my professors. I just feel weird coming home at night and not having to study.”
So, undergraduates take note that although the real world can seem intimidating, a day in the life of a PR practioner is never predictable. Public relations is a field that holds endless possibilities. So, start thinking about tomorrow, today.
How do you feel about entering the real world? What is a day like in your profession?