Becoming a member of student organizations while in college is crucial to your future success in your profession. The opportunity for leadership positions, networking with peers and having a good time are all opportunities student organizations can give you.
Recently I have realized how important it is to not only be a member of an organization but to be a member of an organization that pertains to your major. Many different conference and career day events that I have been to lately have all spoke about the valuable network, knowledge and benefits you gain from being in a professional student organization.
Luckily, I took advantage of the opportunity to join two wonderful professional student organizations while being in college, those being the Public Relations Student Society of America and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. In both of these organizations I have been given opportunities to do things that otherwise would have never even heard of or known about. Things like agency tours, networking opportunities with other members, conferences, weekly meetings, internships and so much more.
Honestly, I don’t think the concept of joining organizations like these are really stressed as much as they should be in our classes. Sure they are advertised on paper but I think they need to be announced during classes related to the organization and in mass emails from the university. Sure social organizations like fraternities and sororities are great too, but there is so much more you can gain from being in a professional one as well.
One way that PRSSA has helped me so far this semester is by helping me connect with other students around Texas that are interested in the same things as I am. At the PRSSA regional conference I had the pleasure of meeting a girl from Baylor that pretty much was my long lost PR soul sister. We both are interested in the entertainment industry, moving to Los Angeles and of course public relations. Coincidentally we share the same name as well, we thought that was just the cherry on top. After meeting at the conference about a month ago, we stayed in contact and are currently planning a trip to LA together to do agency tours, applications and apartment shopping. Another great thing about our trip is the fact that the LA chapter of PRSSA is hosting a one-day conference on one of the days we are there, which of course we are attending. I just think it’s awesome that we were strangers just two months ago and now we are planning a trip to another state together while feeling like we have been friends forever.
It’s weird to think about but these people you meet aren’t only your friends but can also become your competition for jobs, internships and opportunities. You can’t let that stand in your way though, strengthen your relationships with as many people as possible because you never know when you might need their help or they might need yours.
Take advantage of all the organizations your university or city has to offer, no matter if you are a student or a professional, there is still so much you can learn. I plan on transferring both of my memberships in student organizations to the professional ones once I graduate so I can keep my involvement while meeting new people. What is there to lose but maybe $80 a year on dues? Nothing. Go join something.
“Get involved with the chapter as early as possible in your membership, and stay involved over time. I waited too long to get really active because I thought I had to wait to be invited by someone. It turns out that Chapter leaders were waiting for me to decide what I wanted to do. When you’re active in PRSA, you get many-fold returns from your dues investment.” – Blake Lewis, PRSA Dallas member