Thinking of shutting down during your school break? Don’t!

You’ve worked your tail off during this semester and you are absolutely beat.  The last thing you probably want to do is think about getting ready for the spring semester and (probably) that summer internship or first job.  But, this is the perfect time to do it.

Last year at this time, I “met” Lauren Novo and Mikinzie Stuart.  While doing research for a blog at Carr Perspectives, I saw Lauren and Mikinzie’s posts telling students not to completely shut down during winter break.  Lauren’s post, “Don’t Completely ‘Check out’ in December,” and Mikinzie’s “20 Ways PR Students Can Beat the Winter Break Blues” outlined perfectly how you can benefit from this break.

Lauren and Mikinzie have proved that hard work, dedication, and persistence pays off. So, I asked both ladies to look back at those posts, now that they are full-time PR pros.  If you aren’t following them on Twitter, I’ve included their handles here.

We can all agree the last thing you probably want to do during your break is work.  But, how much of what you said in your posts did you actually do?

@Mikinzie: From a list of 20, I think completing even one school/ career related task during your time off is a success! I updated my resume, cleaned up older projects for my portfolio, researched PR agencies, played with new digital tools and of course, chatted on Twitter.

@lmnovo: I def dropped the ball on GRE studying – in fact, I never took it! Probably not BEST decision but I think work + APR is the way I’ll go…

@lmnovo: On the flip side, I started an internship early, which allowed me to attend/facilitate major client conf. Even better than career shadowing!

What are some points in your blog posts that most hit home for you?

@Mikinzie: In the blog post, I saved the most important point for last: “Find a balance between work and play during your winter break.” Finding that “middle ground” of moderation will help you become a more grounded and surprisingly productive person.

@lmnovo: Emphasis on starting a blog. It sharpens your writing skills, critical thinking, industry awareness, discipline & will put you on the map.

@lmnovo Build a portfolio. Not just important for obvious reasons (getting job). It also is learning exp. What are you proud of? What can you do?

Why is this time of year so important for students?

@Mikinzie: It’s the one time of the school year where you have the most downtime without the distraction of sunny weather, making it easier to buckle down when you need a break from family festivities.

@Mikinzie: Since most summer internships go fast, it’s a good time to start developing professional relationships with potential employers so when the time comes to hire, you’re the first person that comes to his or her mind.

@lmnovo: It’s the only time you can separate yourself from school/internships. It’s a chance to reflect on what you want & actually make time to pursue.

@lmnovo: It’s go, go, go all semester. Need to make the most of what you did. Don’t let effort be forgotten. Build portfolio, start blog, etc.

Lauren, would you still start a blog in the middle of a jam-packed semester?

@lmnovo: Definitely. PR is a 24/7 career. If I can’t handle blog + school, can’t handle PR. Besides, the craziness gave me material to blog about!

@lmnovo: Sometimes, all the school work, internship apps, etc. can be overwhelming. A blog is something YOU control. It actually calmed me down.

You both mentioned reading in your posts, especially “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations.” How important is it for students today to continue to stay “educated” while in college?

@Mikinzie: Since neither of us were “PR students” per se (note: I majored in Technical Writing whereas Lauren majored in Media and Communication Studies), we had to teach ourselves about PR by learning from books, blogs and other professionals.

@Mikinzie: Keeping current on the industry gives you something else to bring to the table (aside from just a college degree) when you start going in for your first job interviews. It showcases your eagerness, enthusiasm and work ethic to potential employers.

@lmnovo: So important. I wasn’t PR major so I learned a lot on my own by reading/researching + through internships & sought-out mentorships.

@lmnovo: Even PR students should pursue education outside of class. Many programs don’t teach social media, media pitching, etc. Must learn somehow!

If you were adding a few things to your lists, now a year later, what would it be?

@Mikinzie: I would have been more persistent about getting published as a guest blogger, in campus and local newspapers and even trade publications. Poor writing is often the biggest complaint about PR professionals. Like speaking, writing is a form of communication and we, as communicators, need to be better at it than our clients and the writers we pitch every day.

@Mikinzie: Also, I would dig up all secret tips and tricks to using Microsoft excel. It will save you a lot of time, stress and headaches in the long run, believe me.

@lmnovo: Attend December PRSA/FPRA/etc. luncheon. Most students are away & you will stand out. Introduce yourself & request informational interview.

@lmnovo: Travel. Opportunities for road trips are limited once working full-time. Go somewhere with your friends & enjoy the experience.

Thanks so much again to Lauren and Mikinzie for taking the time to look back and offer advice.  How are you marching forward during the break? Let me know!

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About JasMollica

"It's never too late to have a life and it's never too late to change one." That's something I tell students, friends, and family all the time. After living and working in New York City, I took my own advice in 2004, switched my career from the television/radio industry and got into public relations. Now, I spend my days as a PR/social media marketing consultant and get inspired daily. It's been a good ride, so far. But the car has plenty of gas left. I hope you'll join along in this guy's journey!

Posted on December 21, 2010, in Inspiration, Job Search, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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