Advice to college students: You’re amazing

By Cameron McPherson

PRSA Richmond is filled with an incredible amount of wisdom and talent. As college and university students prepare for another semester of classes, the Richmond PR Foundation – the charitable arm of the chapter – asked a few public relations professionals for advice they would give their younger selves.

Whether you’re a student or current practitioner, I hope these takeaways inspire you to take on new and exciting challenges.

“First and foremost, believe in yourself and don’t let fear get in the way! Having a plan is great, but also be flexible while trusting the process. Instead of being discouraged by the inevitable ups and downs, recognize how each experience can add value to your career journey. Learn the lesson so that you can grow from it and apply it to the next opportunity.” – Kenita Matthews, APR

“The public relations discipline is diverse and offers incredible opportunities. That means a career in public relations can be both exciting and overwhelming when you are starting out. Take chances and forge a professional path that makes you happy. If the path that makes you happiest doesn’t exist – make it.” – Mike Gray, APR

“Be confident, trust your instincts and speak up. Don’t silence yourself just because you are the youngest or the only woman in the room.” – Diana Miller, APR

“Believe in yourself – you’re amazing. People are rooting for you. Seek out friends and mentors that you can celebrate wins and discuss challenges with. There will be mistakes big and small along the way, but use those moments as growth opportunities. Never stop learning, whether it’s taking a new course or having a conversation with someone about their experiences. Find ways to give back and share your talents with others.” – Cameron McPherson, APR

“Get an internship every summer in college. I waited until my junior year so I graduated with only one internship. I could have been interning the entire time and graduated with more experience. I also would invite professionals in the industry to coffee (it’s cheaper than lunch). Then ask them for advice and suggestions for breaking into the industry.” – Taya Jarman, APR

The Richmond PR Foundation provides four annual scholarships to area college students and assists current practitioners by reimbursing APR certification costs. Donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible.

Cameron McPherson, APR serves as president of the Richmond PR Foundation.