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Not So Carefree College Days

Published on February 17, 2017 at 4:53 p.m.
by Erica Cooke.

We all go through it at one time or another. There’s always that one week when you are flooded with three tests, a paper, a class presentation and it’s the deadline to apply to that dream internship.

Constantly being on the go and having due dates can feel rewarding yet overwhelming at times. But what happens if that feeling doesn’t stop? Working in public relations is to be a lifelong learner and always being in the know, but that also means devoting more time to the school part of college than the college part of college.

Studying public relations and working in the field these past few years have been rewarding. I have traveled across the country, shook hands and networked with company presidents and C-suite professionals. I have these incredible opportunities because of my involvement in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA); Capstone Agency, a student-run integrated communications firm; and previous internship experience.

Photo by Erica Cooke

My involvement in these organizations may sometimes mean that I stay in on a Friday night and study for a crisis communications test while my roommates get ready for an evening of fun. Or it means I attend a PRSSA Regional Conference and miss my sorority’s formal.

Becoming an adult means making mature choices that will further your career and help you get a job post-graduation, but how do you stop the feeling that you’re missing out on your carefree college days?

Photo by Erica Cooke

1. Find friends who push you to succeed.
Meeting this goal may mean branching out and talking to different people in your classes, asking for someone new to proofread an article for you or joining an organization that is related to your major. I have found an amazing group of friends by putting myself out there and volunteering to do new things. This group of friends has been a wonderful support system by pushing me to be the best version of myself, getting just as excited as me when a professional follows me on Twitter, but also doesn’t mind splitting a pizza and playing card games on a Saturday night.

2. Create a balance.
Finding balance in college is just about the same as walking across a tightrope while wearing roller blades blindfolded. It’s not easy, but with some practice, it can be done. Try to schedule time during the week to study for that test so you can go see a late movie or hang out with friends on Friday night without feeling guilty. My weekdays are filled with studying, planning, writing and excessive to-do lists, but by the time the weekend rolls around, I can relax and have fun.

Photo by Joe Hall

3. Understand that what you do today will create a better tomorrow.
This concept can be hard to grasp. People will always say, “College is only four years, so live it up,” but what will happen if you spend a little too much time “living it up” and not enough time preparing for your future? My internship boss gave me a piece of advice before I started my junior year: “On the day you walk across that stage and receive your diploma, be happy for that day, but also think about what you’re doing the day after you graduate. If you play your cards right, the answer should be that you’re moving into your new apartment and starting your new job that Monday.”

College can be a whirlwind. Sometimes it may feel that you are studying away your college experience, but Confucius said it best: “Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.”

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