PR: The student perspective

A few weeks ago I was asked to talk to some current PR students at Sunderland University, as part of an event set up by the CIPR North East.

It was a really interesting day where the students got to quiz some local employers and we got the chance to speak to potential future recruits.

There were some useful exchanges and one of the students Jess Ramsey agreed to write a blog about her thoughts on the PR industry.

Guest Post: Jess Ramsey

Up to the age of 17 I had very little idea what I wanted to do with my life. And then I heard about PR.

For me, public relations is a perfect fit. I love to write – anything and everything – I love being organised and planning ahead, and I love a challenge.

The fact that PR, whether in-house or consultancy, can be so different day-to-day is perhaps one of the biggest plus points – because who wants to be stuck behind a desk every day of the year?

I think PR is so interesting because you’re constantly learning – about clients, their companies, about the media and online social media – there’s always something new to get your teeth into or there’s always somewhere you can delve deeper.

But as with everything, there’s a downside.

What frustrates me about PR is that it’s difficult for some outside of the media industry to appreciate what practitioners do – according to the majority of my friends I’m studying to cover up celebrity mishaps… that’s perhaps not quite degree worthy.

Another drawback is that the industry is still relatively new. Thanks to many history lectures I know that PR has been around even before Bernays in one way or another, but to me, it seems the industry is still trying to settle into its groove.

There are so many debates surrounding the industry – is a degree necessary? Is PR a profession? How do you measure PR? – These are just a few. PR as an industry is still figuring itself out, so from a student perspective, it’s difficult to really know where you’re going and the value of what you’re learning.

But that is perhaps the biggest challenge, and I’m looking forward to tackling all this when I graduate. The PR industry may take a little while longer to find its feet but I’m certainly looking forward to finding mine.

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