My name is Amy Lafnear and I am a December graduate of the public relations program at Wayne State University. When asked what I would tell my former self, I came up with a laundry list of items but narrowed it down to what I felt are the four most important. And while you may not be able to apply everything I mention here, I hope you are able take away something and use it to improve your personal and professional journey.
Dear Amy circa 2009,
1) Understand what matters most
Sure attending that frat party sounds like a lot more fun than studying for a test but it will eventually catch up with you. The earlier you realize that earning an A on a tough group project or getting an internship you spent hours preparing for is way more fulfilling than participating in a beer pong championship, the better off you will be.
2) Take chances
Make it a point to do something outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis. Don’t just go through the motions of getting your education – attend PRSSA events, become an eboard member, seek out internships in fields outside of what you think your interests are and apply for scholarships with intimidating requirements. You won’t get everything you go out for but the challenges you will face and the opportunities you will be blessed with will make you an incredibly happy and confident young professional.
While you should strive to study abroad, you might not be able to make it happen. If that is so, make it a point to at least take a trip across the pond. Even a short-term excursion will open your eyes to so many different experiences that you could never find back in the U.S. and it will make you appreciate what you have back home. Oh and if you’re worried about money, please refer the first point of this letter. I promise you it is a lot more fun to tell your coworkers about the time you watched the Eiffel Tower twinkle in the night sky while enjoying a freshly made Nutella crepe than I can imagine it will be telling them about the $3 per month you saved on your student loans by not going.
4) Have some fun
Once you figure out that you need a good balance between working hard and playing hard, my first suggestion is to explore the world around you. I mean you go to school in Detroit and are minutes away from fantastic restaurants (Fresh BBQ from Slow’s and homemade ice cream from Traffic Jam & Snug), places to expand your mind (the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Michigan Science Center, to name a few) and seasonal favorites (yes, you should definitely try ice skating in Campus Martius after class or taking stroll down the Detroit RiverWalk instead of napping in your car between classes). And my second suggestion is to find out what activities interest you and do as much of it as you can. Note: You will come to realize that although you may not be very good any of them, you will find so much joy in your attempts at painting, cooking and practicing yoga.
Well that is all I can think of for now, Amy. Good luck with everything and if you have any questions or concerns, know I’m always here for you. 😉
Amy, the 2014 version
Questions about what you read here or anything else for that matter? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!