Regaining the Student Passion

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Published on July 21, 2017, at 4:52 p.m.
by Brie Carter.

Sitting at your office and waiting to hear that tick marking the 5 o’clock hour might be the first sign of a much needed intervention. Work seems barely up to par, but you think you’re in too deep to change careers. What’s happening? It’s called indifference.

Photo by Pexels. A man who can’t keep his eyes off of the clock.

It’s common for people who are already immersed within the public relations field to think twice about their profession. But this double-take 10 or 20 years down the road might cost you. How do you “fix” this indifference? We would like to name our intervention The Redirection of Passion.

Today, students pursuing a public relations degree are told by their advisers and professors to chase after their dreams or they will be left behind. They say, “Get an internship. Volunteer at an event. Make sure to always network.” It undoubtedly keeps students busy, but it also forces them to get their hands dirty. It’s a competition to the graduation line for how much experience a student can get. Because all of the internships, volunteer hours and shadowing takes a lot of effort and time away from college life. It seems undeniable that students wouldn’t be doing these things if they didn’t love it.

Anna Blake Atkinson, a student at The University of Alabama pursuing a major in public relations, says that a student-run club, Country Music Association Education (CMA EDU), sparked her initial passion for public relations work.

“I seriously do my CMA EDU projects before I do any of my school work, because I enjoy it,” Atkinson said. “I really think that I am passionate about it [entertainment PR].”

Know your weaknesses. Atkinson knows she doesn’t like public speaking. It’s something she has to “get up and do” but she knows not to dwell too hard on it. When you recognize what you aren’t good at, it’s easier to tell yourself not to be weighed down by it. Be proactive in what you’re not so great at and highlight your strengths. Celebrate them when you are successful.

As a student it’s quite normal to question if this is the right major for you. But when you are already within the field and you feel the same way, ask yourself what was the initial push that directed you to the path of indifference.

Know your strengths. Stephanie Ramirez, the marketing director at Trisk Consulting Group, said that her mother used to tell her that she was a good debater and needed to either be a lawyer or promoter because she was very convincing. Ramirez, 20 years later, capitalizes on this strength in the marketing field.

Highlighting your strengths helps you gain a confidence booster. It’s what makes you different than the person in the next cubical over.

Find your motivation. Staying stagnant is tough. It can feel like feet being drug through mud. Check your surroundings. Is someone or something encouraging you and your co-workers? If it isn’t present, kick start the support and hopefully it will come back to you full circle. While motivation is nice, don’t rely on other people to give it to you. Look back and seek the flames of excitement you first started out with.

“My motivation is telling the truth and informing the public about how it can be beneficial to them,” Ramirez said. “It’s like when you find a new nail polish and you can’t wait to tell your five best girlfriends about it.”

Ask why. This intervention is concluded by questions you ask yourself. Atkinson suggests asking what initially got you interested in PR and why you came to be where you are now. If you aren’t growing, you’re moving backward. Understand your purpose.

Ramirez has advice for people who are currently in a rut. She suggests they should question, “How many years do I really have on this earth to make a difference?”

“That’s what it’s really all about,” Ramirez explained. “It’s not about making money. What did you contribute or bring value to? And if nothing, then get out and go work for a nonprofit who digs wells in Africa.”

If you find yourself slipping maybe seek out the motivation that this industry is becoming more cut throat than ever before.

“Your job isn’t secure,” Atkinson said. “Nurses will always have a job, but anyone can take your spot [as a PR professional].”

Atkinsons advises that there is always a possibility that passion can shift, and that’s okay.

Photo by Pexels. A phone reading a motivational message.

If this self-assessment process didn’t work for you, research the possibility of going into a new route of PR. Ramirez stated that all of her “work slumps” got resolved from changing jobs within the industry.

Her first job was working for a Latin American PR firm. Minoring in Spanish and marrying a Latin American didn’t mean the work came easy. Translating articles and selling products in another language took a toll on her. That’s when switching into a new job bubbled up. As this example illustrates, public relations has countless different opportunities to pursue.

Assessing why you are indifferent in your job isn’t an easy process. Bringing you face to face with an intervention might not have been something you particularly wanted to hear. But once you regain the type of passion you had in college, you won’t be catching yourself watching for the 5 o’clock mark.

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