Written by Kayleigh Hyers

As an incoming freshman, most students don’t know what career path they want to take. It can be a daunting task to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. Luckily, there are professional societies like PRSSA to guide students on the path to success. As one of those students who didn’t know what they wanted to major in, it was important to find a major that gave me the support I needed to be the best. Without the numerous resources offered to students in the College of Communication and Information, as a senior, I would still be lost.

One of the most helpful and important resources offered to students is the Public Relations Student Society of America, or better known as PRSSA. PRSSA is the leading pre-professional public relations society in the country. It is offered to all students, of all majors and can be a helpful determinate when choosing a profession. PRSSA allows you to network and meet professionals in the community, increase your opportunities for internships and build your resume. I have been fortunate enough to see the direct impact that PRSSA membership has when it comes to searching for a job. If it were not for that one line on my resume, I believe I wouldn’t have been so lucky to receive an internship offer from one of the leading public relations firms in Knoxville.

PRSSA also builds a sense of community among public relations majors and the professional community in Knoxville. It’s professional societies like these that not only help you professionally and academically, but also personally. PRSSA not only allows you to meet new people, but it allows you to build meaningful relationships that go deeper than a “hello”. PRSSA boasts its inclusion of all students, not only on their chapter website, but also on the national organization website as well. PRSSA is dedicated to diversity and inclusion and instills those values in members to utilize in their future careers.

PRSSA not only offers academic benefits, but also important lessons for aspiring professionals in any industry. The ethical principles of PRSSA are advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty and fairness. All of these principles can be applied to our professional experiences, as well as our personal experiences. PRSSA is one of the only professional societies that I have been a part of that promotes more than just an academic agenda.

In addition, the College of Communication and Information supports PRSSA’s efforts by offering public relations students real-world experience in the forms of internship opportunities, professional trips and study abroad programs. The college provides professors that are more than qualified in their backgrounds and dedicated to the success of each student.

The college also provides academic advising that ensures each student is reaching their full potential and on-track to begin a successful career, whether they are headed to grad school, an internship or a new job.

As a graduating senior, I will most definitely give credit to my PRSSA membership for allowing me to be so successful as a student. I will continue to enact the principles of PRSSA and hopefully continue on as a member of PRSA. I hope that the university and the Sammie Lynn Puett Chapter continue to reach students who are outside of the public relations major. I believe PRSSA greatly benefits all students professional, academic and personal experiences.

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