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Introvert to Extrovert: How Being a PR Major Completely Changed My Personality

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Like most other seniors in high school, when I was applying to colleges, I had no idea what I wanted to do in the future. Throughout my childhood, I adopted a wide array of interests: theatre and performing, film, English, and many others. When it came to applying for college, I felt lost and overwhelmed by deciding on, what I thought at the time was, a future career path.

Eventually, I ended up applying to nearly 15 different universities. I didn’t decide on a single major, instead, I applied to an array of programs across the 15 colleges. Some were English programs, others for film, I even attempted to apply for acting and performance programs.

Before transferring to UMass, I attended Chapman University and was enrolled in their renowned film program as a screenwriting major. During my time at Chapman, I felt extremely overwhelmed and quickly realized that this new college experience was not even remotely going to resemble high school.

Within three months of being at Chapman, I came to terms with the fact that I was very unhappy with my current situation. I felt far away from home (being in California was really the furthest I could’ve been), uncomfortable with my major, and lacking a sense of community and belonging. In turn, this overwhelming sense of unhappiness drastically impacted my personality.

I felt uncomfortable to be the person I truly was. And perhaps this happens to most freshmen as they adapt to a new environment and lifestyle, but I deeply felt that I was not in the best environment I could be in to see myself thrive.

Shortly after being sent home from Chapman due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided that applying to UMass and other schools closer to home would be a better fit for me. I applied to UMass initially as an English major and once I was accepted, I almost immediately committed. In contrast to Chapman, UMass was an opportunity for me to experience a bigger school with a plentitude of opportunities. Once I committed, I was more excited about college than I had been as a high school senior.

Although I started out my education at UMass as an English major, I felt as though I wanted something more specialized. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy English, but I knew that I could find a major where I truly felt passionate and comfortable. I soon discovered the journalism major with a public relations (PR) concentration. Although I was hesitant and unsure at first to make the change, I am ultimately so happy I did.

When school resumed in person in the fall of 2021, I was overwhelmed with anxiety and nerves. I felt so alone on such a big campus, especially when I didn’t know anyone in my major. However, I remember walking into my first PR class and feeling the most at home I had been in the past year.

Being in public relations means being comfortable with communicating. Although I had always been a friendly person throughout my childhood and high school, I was usually more reserved within my friend groups. The friends that I had were very close to me and acquaintances were often kept at an arm’s distance. However, once I made the switch to PR, I realized that becoming comfortable in myself and my ability to make friends was key.

Although my classes may have been daunting at first, I built the confidence to talk with the other girls sitting at my tables for help. Soon enough, camaraderie and friendship developed and I made friends faster than I had before. I attribute a lot of this to the fact that we were all involved in a major that required being comfortable with communication and connection.

Since that first semester on campus, I can confidently say I am a changed person. Whenever future employers or adults ask me what I want to do with the rest of my life, I find myself wanting to say things like “meet other people” and “connect.” Although it isn’t a very concrete response, I know in my heart and my soul that it’s my purpose in life to meet and help other people.

Talking to other people, relating with them, and sharing laughs are all my favorite things about human connection. There’s simply nothing else like it. Although we are living in a digital world and age, taking the time to really look at and speak to the person right in front of you is so important. I find myself able to appreciate more about the friends and acquaintances that I have in my life.

If you also have a passion for talking to and connecting with others, then who knows, maybe you should be a PR major too.

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Kiley Smyth

U Mass Amherst '23

Kiley is a Senior at UMass Amherst studying Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations. She is also pursuing a certificate in Film Studies!