What free time, right? I remember what it was like working at the newspaper while balancing a full class load, my campaigns class, PRSSA meetings and job hunting to boot.
While many seniors don’t have the luxury of having a lot of free time, it’s important to utilize the time you have. Here are a few of my suggestions.
- Exercise — Something you can do to blow off steam from a long day is a nice run or workout. The last thing a busy person needs is a weak immune system during finals week. Invest in yourself and make an effort to maintain a healthy body.
- Work part-time — Think public relations here — not just side money. See if you can make ends meet stringing at your local newspaper for $25 an article or photo. The point is to pursue something relevant to your perspective industry. You’ll fill your resume and hopefully collect enough money to start a savings account.
- Spend time with your family — I made the choice to move 13 hours away from home after I graduated. As happy as I am here in Charlotte, I do often miss being close to my family and golden retriever. Make the effort to get that extra quality time with your folks and siblings before you head to a big city for work.
- Read & Write — If you’re tired of looking at textbooks and thinking about public relations, read a classic novel and write about something other than PR. Expand your thinking beyond one topic — it will make you a smarter and more rounded student.
- Network — Attend a PRSA luncheon to meet its local Chapter President — learn to communicate with professionals twice your age. Don’t overplay the “I’m looking for work” card, but do share what you’re looking for in a first job. This will help during interviews.
- Tour agencies/Shadow — Mentioned in my “Sweet 16 Things to Do Before You Graduate” post, a student should have a good idea of what the feel of an office is like. You should compare agencies by the way they are set up, the people who work there and how they talk about what they do. Value the agencies whose staffs are excited about what they do and the clients they work with.
- Lecture — If you’re on the same terms as I was with my PR professor, see if you can get some lecture experience under your belt. Remember the class that started it all for you? Mine was Intro to Mass Communications, and I had the chance to speak to students my junior and senior years. Work with your professor and see if this is possible. Spend a week or two preparing some material, and show them what you’re made of.
- Volunteer — Again, I mentioned this in the Sweet 16 post, but it’s worth mentioning a second time. Finding a cause you’re passionate about will help you grow as a person. You’ll meet some great people along the way, and people will truly appreciate you for it.