The Other Side


Nothing about this experience – not the long commute during rush hour, the expensive city parking or the long hours at a desk – has made me feel like a young working professional quite like logging into my Skype account last Wednesday in anticipation for a call from the University of Oregon PRSSA chapter.

Just over a month ago, I was on the other side of that screen, listening intently to professionals sharing their tidbits of advice and diligently live tweeting the entire thing. This time, I was the one sharing my story and offering up the advice I had learned in the two and half weeks I had been in my internship. Surprisingly, I found I already had a lot to share.

In just two and a half weeks, I had learned firsthand about workplace dynamics and best practices as an intern. Here are a few of the tips I shared with my PRSSA peers:

  • It’s ok to make mistakes, but it’s important to make mistakes you can learn from. Try to avoid mistakes that result from not paying attention to details, such as misspellings in email communication.
  • Always spend more time on an assignment than you think you need, especially in the first few weeks of a new internship or job. It’s expected that it will take you a little longer to accomplish something than a seasoned professional so spend the extra time going above and beyond their expectations. With every assignment or project, think about what you can add to get a head start on the next step, make someone else’s job a little easier or demonstrate your critical thinking skills.
  • Never be afraid to ask for help prioritizing. It’s better to spend five extra minutes getting help prioritizing your tasks than it is to spend all your time on something that isn’t all that important and letting something else slip just because you’re unfamiliar with the deadlines and levels of importance.

Find more tips for standing out as an intern here.

– Hannah Osborn

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8 Responses to The Other Side

  1. Sometimes I truly forget that most of our classmates are still in school back in Eugene. It is a weird feeling being able to already get our foot in the door as a working professional, when we should still be in school. That must have been a really cool experience being able to address your PRSSA peers and share how your experience has come full circle. I really enjoyed reading about some of the tips you gave your PRSSA peers, because they truly can apply to almost all of our own personal internship experiences. I struggle with moving on after making a mistake at work, but I know it will only help me in the future to learn from my mistakes and improve next time. Thank you for your blog post!

  2. wujesi says:

    Thanks for your post. I was in PRSSA for two terms and I remember getting advice from PR professionals and students during meetings and always wondered what it was like to give advice. It’s awesome to know that you get to be on the other side of the screen. The tips you gave were helpful and I have found myself using those tips already in my internship.

  3. nikkimaroney says:

    I still find it baffling how we, 20-somethings with minimal experience, have ventured over to “the other side.” I remember sitting in my Allen Hall Public Relations meetings listening to former UO students talk about their professional lives, and thinking, “wow, that’s going to be me in a few months.” As students, we secretly dread the day when we turn in our textbooks for actual jobs because we know the professional world comes with much bigger responsibilities. The tips you gave were relevant and beneficial to any young person entering the workforce. However, at the end of the day, no one can prepare us for working in the professional world – everyone has to make their own mistakes in order to learn. Thanks for the great post Hannah!

  4. kativanloo says:

    I feel the same way as Kelly; I almost forget sometimes that while we are working away up here our friends back at school are still taking classes on campus. It’s definitely a weird feeling. I also listened to many recent grads in our AHPR meetings and couldn’t imagine being on the other side. It’s awesome that you were able to do that for PRSSA; your tips are right on point and resonate with everything I have experienced so far at my internship. Thanks for your post!

  5. Nice post. It’s interesting that the relationship dynamic change between yourself and the PRSSA was the thing that made you feel the most like an Young Urban Professional. It must be nerve wracking to be on a Skype call, well aware that the multiple people on the other end are likely live-tweeting your every word. The piece of advice about reaching out to others regarding prioritization is something I’ve never thought of independently, but is definitely well worthwhile.

  6. robbydavis23 says:

    It’s amazing how much you can truly learn over the course of a month. Couple weeks ago I had a few friends from the J school back in Eugene ask me my opinion on how to go about finding a job after graduation. I was surprised by how much I knew simply from being part of this program. I guess there is still a piece of me that expects to be in a classroom stressing out about what to do after I complete school, but now I’m beginning to feel far more confident. The biggest piece of advice I’ve given was one that you brought up as well. Which is, it’s ok to make mistakes. Nobody expects you to be perfect. They just want you to be trying your best. Even you you do mess up you have the opportunity to take it as a learning experience. You ultimately can’t experience success without experiencing failure.

  7. jlandre2014 says:

    First of all, congrats on being a guest speaker! I remember getting guest lectures from previous students when I was at the Emerald, and they were always so inspiring and helpful. I can really relate to the pieces of advice you shared – especially the one regarding prioritizing. It’s the thing I struggled with most during the first couple of weeks, but I feel like I’m getting the hang of it now. I definitely agree that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help in that area. It improves your productivity and it also lets your supervisors know how much you have on your plate.

  8. Alison Jelden says:

    I agree with not being afraid of making a mistake. I feel I learn the most when I know I can improve. It is a valuable trait to learn from past mistakes. Congrats on being a guest speaker! I couldn’t imagine the nerves you were feeling. Way to go!

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