I have been at Dogwood for a little over a month now. I am so grateful to be a part of this team! Soon I will graduate from Troy University and start as a full-time employee. I look forward to serving the clients of Dogwood even more in the coming months. I have greatly enjoyed my first few weeks here as I transition from education to implementation.
Transitioning from student life to professional life can be a weird shift. I wanted to bring you along as I am stepping out of the classroom and into the working world. As of December 13th, I will have a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a minor in Public Relations. Many times throughout my college career I have been asked the question, “what in the world do you do with a communications degree?” To which I always responded with, “lots!”
What I Studied
There are many different directions to go in with a communication degree. From journalism and advertising to public relations, there are so many options. Most all organizations need a communications employee to be a part of their team in some form. I took classes across the journalism spectrum. Many of these classes taught me how to communicate with different people, in different settings, and for different purposes. It seems simple and self-explanatory. However, there are some valuable skills to be learned that go much deeper than our everyday communication tactics.
I also had a minor in Public Relations for a bit of specialization. It did not take long before I fell in love with all things PR! I am excited to see how I will get to use some of those skills in my role at Dogwood. Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics, according to the Public Relations Society of America. I studied public relations cases from all types of organizations that showcased what to do and what not to do in certain situations. My classes researched and was educated on the best tactics to use in different cases. We also learned how to manage the public relations of an organization from within, or externally.
One of the most valued projects I was able to participate in was the building of a complete public relations campaign for the Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center (PRCAC). This gave me extremely valued hands-on experience. I was able to be a part of the entire campaign from the beginning stages of learning about the organization, determining their needs, and implementing a plan to walk alongside them in helping them relate to their publics- both external and internal- in a successful way.
Now, I have heard for years that what you learn in class doesn’t always translate to the real world. I have found that to be true in some cases during my short time at Dogwood. There have also been many instances where what I learned in school has come into play. It’s been a process to figure how to move from education to implementation. I listen carefully when we have certain discussions at work about how to relate to a client, or how to build a certain site or schedule social media. During these conversations, I catch myself reasoning through them based off the knowledge I gained in the classroom. I have had to spend time learning the systems that we use and understanding how they accomplish what we need them to do. The processes as to why we are doing what we are doing, however, falls right into line with what we practiced in school.
For example, one of the most important aspects of creating our Public Relations campaign for PRCAC was consistency in style. After creating a style guide, it was important to ensure the final product and all of its pieces were recognizable as one. At Dogwood, with each website we build or social media campaign we run, I have seen and heard from my coworkers the hard work put in to keep each organization’s sites consistently putting out similar messaging in a timely manner with a recognizable design! It is very important to craft very clear and creative messages to send to your publics. No matter what you are communicating those messages through (website, social media, print materials, events, etc.) it’s vital to keep them consistent, and I’ve seen that practiced heavily here at Dogwood.
Dogwood Can Help!
Of course, there is alway more to learn! It has been exciting to begin moving from education to implementation. I’m excited to continue learning at Dogwood and advancing in my professional career. I, along with the rest of the Dogwood staff, would love to be a part of your journey. Let us help you in communicating with your people. If your business or organization needs help doing that, we would love to walk through it with you!