Stand Up and Stand Out
By: Joei DeCarlo, Director of Public Relations
Standing out in a large student organization chapter can be difficult, especially when it consists of members who have similar majors. I joined Temple’s Chapter of PRSSA in the spring of my freshman year. I was in awe of the e-board and how they seemed to know each member, but I wondered how each individual member knew who one another was and how some people just seemed to “shine” in a room full of people who had a passion for PR and communicating. Later that year I was recognized as an outstanding new chapter member, I received a member spotlight the following semester, and was recognized with my mentor, Clarissa, for outstanding mentor/mentee pair. At the time I wasn’t sure why I was recognized, but looking back, I think I know why.
Here are some tips I’d offer to my freshman self about standing out in a large chapter….
The biggest mistake I made freshman year was not asking questions out of fear of looking like I didn’t know what I was doing. I later realized everyone has questions- freshman or senior! As an e-board member now, I love when peers (under or upperclassman) ask me questions. Not only can I help them or send them to someone who can help them, but their questions have helped me! I’ve been asked questions about writing that I didn’t know the answer to and we learned together. Experiences like these have helped me to make connections with fellow PRSSA members as well as provided a learning opportunity for both of us.
Enthusiasm never goes unnoticed. Whether you are nodding your head during a guest speaker presentation or actively participating in a workshop, fellow members and the executive board always notice those who are excited to be a chapter member. Another thing I would have reminded myself is “I’m paying for great resources- I should make the most of them!”. I forgot to check the PRSSA website for writing or scholarship opportunities. Looking into these resources and actively participating make you a better member and you will benefit from all your membership has to offer you!
Most of what I learned as a PRSSA member was by watching others. Being observant helps you to strengthen your skills by directly watching others. You can pick up on subtle things like shaking a guest speaker’s hand or larger things like introducing yourself to a fellow member. Watching others can help to make new things less intimidating, and you will thank yourself for taking the time to observe what others get out of their memberships.
Although it can be intimidating at first, trying to stand out in a large student organization will not only help you to be a better member, but you will get recognized for all of your hard work. Investing your time in a pre-professional organization will help you to further your education outside of the classroom and can help you to make connections to use after you graduate. So remember, stand up and stand out!!