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The Guide to Choosing a PR Concentration That I Wish I Had as a Freshman

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

What do the finance, air travel, education, beverage and healthcare industries all have in common? Each industry needs public relations specialists. A quick search on Indeed for public relations job listings in Florida displayed companies like Coca-Cola, American Airlines and the Royal Caribbean Group that desire PR professionals. With all of these options, trying to select one specialty can feel impossible – but it isn’t.

When I first changed my major to public relations as a wee freshman, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was signing myself up for. I couldn’t give a firm definition of the profession, much less pick a specialty. (If you’re a first semester PR major, don’t worry. You’ll have to memorize the PRSA definition of PR when you take PUR3000, which will come in handy when trying to tell your uncle what your major is.) One of the aspects of the field of PR that surprised me the most was how versatile it is. All of my favorite brands, from The Ordinary to Whole Foods, had public relations professionals. The world was my oyster.

But, for me, with great choices comes great responsibility. My interests are like the quilted jacket I’ve been eyeing on Pinterest: The various fabric pieces are all unique, yet they compose the same piece of clothing. Similarly, I have unique interests that seemingly have no correlation, from sports to skincare to sightseeing. Yet they’re all an important part of me.

So, when trying to narrow down a subject of interest that I wanted to specialize in, I did some unofficial reflecting on myself and my goals. My pondering wasn’t an organized, quiet moment that I sat down, opened a journal and lit a candle to discover what I wanted to do with my life. Instead, I would randomly think about what I wanted to concentrate in while driving to the store or making a pot of coffee. I kept coming back to two specialties: sports and tourism.

When I began to think about what I enjoyed doing when I had limited responsibilities, like when I’m on Christmas break or have a lightened summer load, I relish watching a good basketball game, football game or any game I can come across. I’ve always been a college basketball girlie, and I love when I have the time to sit down and watch a game from start to finish, even when I don’t necessarily “pull” for either team. One day on Christmas break, my family and I watched about three football games in a row. And I loved each one.

I feel the same passion about travel. Though my suitcase hasn’t accompanied me to an abundant amount of destinations yet (emphasis on yet, your girl definitely wants to see some sights post-grad), I am always excited to board a plane or jump in the car and head somewhere new. Checking out local restaurants and coffee shops, meeting new people and observing a new atmosphere is thrilling for me.

With these two passions in mind, I decided to concentrate in event management. After all, event management is like a cousin to the tourism and hospitality industry. Therefore, I knew that by choosing this concentration, I would be able to dabble in both sports and tourism – and I was right. My last module for one of my concentration’s classes was about the travel industry, and this week’s module is about the sports industry.

While my concentration choice did not emerge from an official moment where I sat down and decided what to pursue, I would follow these steps if I had to repeat the process again. First, I would take out my journal and ask myself what I enjoyed doing when I had nothing on my to-do list. For you, this might be surfing in the ocean, trying a new makeup look or binge-watching your favorite show. Next, I would reflect on my favorite brands and why I liked them.

Third, I would think about where I wanted to be long-term. If you are choosing a field that tends to be confined to specific regions, like politics, decide if these regions are where you would want to live in the future. Last and perhaps the most underrated, think back to what you wanted to be growing up. This is a great way to connect with your true passions.

If you are a PR major or studying something with many pathways, then you might occasionally feel a bit overwhelmed by all of your options. One great thing to remember is that you don’t have to have it all figured out at once. Experiment with different specialties and reflect on your goals. Most importantly, go the route of passion.

Caroline Crews is a third-year public relations major at the University of Florida. As a PR major, she enjoys nerding out about consumer analytics and campaign design. Caroline has used her education to design social media plans for both non-profit and for-profit organizations, create targeted email campaigns, and construct the branding of several organizations. When Caroline is not immersed in the field of PR, you can find her going on a walk, spending time with friends and family, or making a pot of coffee.