Tis’ the Final Season

By: Hannah Byron

It’s the most wonder…STRESSFUL time of the year! With the thought of everything magical having to do with “home,” finals seem like one of the last things that would cross our minds as college students. Alas, with the first snowfall complete and the sound of fingers furiously typing those last minute study guides, home seems even more distant.

Where do you start when you have 47 things on your to-do list? Which assignment should you start first? Why am I the only one in my group who is doing the work? What even is sleep?

As I have learned from both my own study habit mistakes and successes, here are 5 recommendations to having a productive and bearable finals week:

1. Prioritize That To-Do List

Listing upcoming assignments, papers, and exams will set the tone for your week. Prioritizing items on your to-do list and designating time to each item makes a world of difference for actually getting the work done.

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2. Shut Your Phone Off

At the very least, put it on do not disturb. It forces you to actually do work and takes away all those meaningless and addictive distractions.

3. Get Out of Your Apartment

Library, campus pub, local coffee shop, ANYWHERE but your dorm room, apartment, or house. Personally, I am the most productive when in an environment where other people are working. It makes me feel more energized and motivates me to do work.

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4. Treat Yo Self

Use insomnia cookies and copious amounts of caffeine to award yourself after an hour of studying or finishing a paper.

5. Take A Break

Studies consistently find that students can only effectively study for an hour max without taking a break. Taking five to ten minutes to go for a walk or have a dance party is re-energizing and allows your brain to return to studying feeling refreshed.

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Just remember, this will ALL be over in a matter of a week. One week until you can overindulge in eggnog and become a slug for the month of January. Just a little longer. You can do this.

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5 Professional Development Tips & Tricks

By: Kristin Butler

tips-and-tricksIt’s nearing the end of another first semester at Ithaca College and that means two things:

  1. Winter Break is right around the corner
  2. If you want to take advantage of summer job opportunities, you need to start thinking about applying for internships… now.

So many people focus on how to apply, what to do on a resume, and how to update your LinkedIn, but I want to talk about what you should keep in mind once you’re there. 

Last year during my freshman year winter break I had the opportunity to shadow an Ithaca Alum at an Advertising agency. If you are shadowing an employee over the break like I did, these tips and tricks can also be applied to your experience.

1. Dress For Success.

One of the first articles I wrote for PRSSA was about dressing for success. This was crucial then and it is crucial now. It always will be. Whether on the job or in the office, dress everyday like your best self. Why? Other than the obvious reasons of feeling great…

  • You look more professional, and this can compensate a little for the age gap. It’s important you are taken seriously, and I always feel like being the best dressed gives you a little boost of confidence and credibility.
  • You’ll never know what you are doing or where you are going. During my internship this summer, there were a few days in the office that turned into “We just scheduled a meeting with someone and it’s in an hour.” I looked at myself and knew this outfit was appropriate for the office, but had to ask myself “is this appropriate for meeting a client?” Thankfully, many times my answer was yes, because I dressed for success for work in and out of the office.

2. WRITE. DOWN. EVERYTHING.

I’m not kidding. I’m a type A kind of person so I always like to log everything I’m doing, but this is especially important for people that aren’t like that naturally. Whether it’s getting someone’s business card at a conference and writing a few facts about them on it for your follow up email, or just writing down important quotes and behaviors you observe while in a meeting, everything can help you in the long run.

When I was shadowing my freshman year, I wrote down everything in a journal during the experience, so I could remember what I was learning and could look back on it when I wanted a refresher. Every experience you have is a wonderful opportunity to learn, but if you forget the experience, you won’t learn anything. But I’d be cautious how much you write in comparison to how much you interact, because you don’t want to be so invested in it that you actually miss the moments.

Small bullets or comments, even just a few thoughts you are thinking in a meeting or writing down someones name and a quick fact can be helpful. Relationships are very important, and you want to remember everyone you meet. Especially if your boss texts you and asks who that one person was that you met two weeks ago for 5 minutes in a room with 50 other people. And of course, you can’t remember off top of your head. But it’s your boss and you always want to deliver. It’s okay to have to “phone a friend” and to make that friend be a notebook because you know your notebook will always remember!

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3. Read what you can when you can.

Especially for companies you are working for or in an industry you are unaware of, you want to be knowledgable among colleagues and in meetings to be able to understand what they are talking about. You can’t learn from a meeting if you don’t understand what the meeting is even about. Read industry articles to broaden your knowledge and research about the company. It’s never bad to be informed.

Having good knowledge about the topic at hand also increases your self-esteem while interacting with people. When it comes to meetings with really powerful people or even just strangers, read about them before you get to sit in on a meeting. Know one or two things about them that not everyone would, just in case you have an opportunity to interact. And if you don’t interact, that’s okay, it’s great practice for when you do. You can easily find things like this on LinkedIn. I love looking at volunteer work, past experiences, or what kind of things they post, since I think it gives me a better understanding of who they really are in their business.

4. Ask Questions.

When I first started shadowing and interning, everyone that I asked for advice said “be imagesseen, not heard.” I get that, you don’t want to be arrogant or pretend you have suggestions for something you don’t know anything about, but I feel like this quote deterred me from wanting to say things at all. This included questions. I know everyone is afraid of asking stupid questions and I won’t lie… there certainly are questions that can be easily searched online, but if you have a question about something within the company or a client you can’t google yourself, please ask. If you are genuinely interested in a concept or idea mentioned while talking with your boss, you can ask about it. Don’t feel like your questions aren’t valid, especially if there are people in positions you aspire to be in one day. You should have curiosity for what their advice is to get there. You’re there to learn. So, learn.

5. Say Thank You.

No one ever complains about anyone being too humble in an industry. Be thankful for where you are. Be thankful for where you’ve been. No one has to hand anything to you. If they do, it’s an opportunity you should be grateful for as someone starting out. Not everyone gets to shadow. Not everyone gets to be an intern. No one has to invite you to shadow their job. No one has to hire you as their intern and mentor you. Thank your boss for bringing you on to the team. Thank your co-workers for giving you the behind the scenes de-brief so you feel welcomed. Thank your mom for buying you those clothes from J.Crew. Thank your dad for always supporting you. Send an email to those that you meet that really leave an impression on you. Thank everyone that matters to you. Let them know you appreciate them, and every opportunity they’ve given you.

Surviving the Holiday Season as a Communications Professional

Take some advice from blogger Amanda Emmer about important steps to take to succeed in this crazy holiday season!

By: Amanda Emmer

‘Tis the season to be jolly and kiss your coffee. That’s right, December is here, and everyone knows that it is one of the craziest times of the year. From corporate employees to baristas, everyone at work will be slammed during the holiday season. The PR and communications industry are also more demanding and stressful during this time of year. Luckily, I have some tips to help any communications professional survive the holiday season.

With all the holidays that take place during this time of year, there are many clients and consumers that want specific services. A lot of companies will be launching holiday campaigns, which means that communications professionals are busy with strategic planning, all the way into execution. Due to the nature of the holiday, there is also a lot of competition between companies that sell similar products and services. It is crucial for people in communications to grab consumers’ attention in the most efficient way possible.

PR is known to be a stressful job. In 2016, PR Week ranked a PR executive at #6 for one of the most stressful careers. As I finish my last week of my internship, I am immersed in the many tasks that must get accomplished in the next few weeks. Everyone around me is busier than ever, with more on their plate than usual. I have learned that PR is a very demanding job, even not during the holiday season. Some of these demanding aspects include research, detailed planning and reaching out to the press and other professionals. On top of that, it is important to make not only your clients happy, but also make your bosses happy.

Even though the job will get demanding and stressful, a public relations or communications role is very rewarding. To overcome the craziness of this holiday season, here are a few tips:

  • Maintain a positive and friendly environment – everyone is just as stressed as you are.
  • Take a deep breath and remain calm.
  • Remember to always take breaks. When possible, also take time away from the computer, as studies have suggested that it can contribute to stress. Try taking a walk outside or just around the office.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, not only if you don’t know how to do something, but also if you feel stress and overwhelmed.
  • Try to relieve stress by writing everything down to get it out of your head.

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  • Plan fun activities to do outside of work.
  • Don’t procrastinate! Waiting to the last minute to complete a task will only increase your stress.
  • Bring your favorite snack to work to reward yourself throughout the work day.
  • Listen to music throughout the day (if you can) or on your break.

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