I’ll never look at a monkey the same way again.
On a day that seems like yesterday, I kicked off a four-year degree; three parts study to one part work, what we call a ‘sandwich’ course. So, off to Leeds I went to embark on a degree in PR and Communications. I read the books, drafted the press releases, and learned to love a sunrise - as it glared at me through the window of the library (an occurrence that turned out to be far too frequent).
During those two years, I learnt enough about the industry to write countless several thousand word essays about the discipline of PR. It wasn't until Soho-based 3 Monkeys Zeno took me in for a year-long placement that I was able to put the theory into practice. Sure, a vocational degree helps to lay the foundations, but it’s only when you apply that theory to a real-life environment that you can begin to understand what the world of PR is really about…
I opened my eyes to the fast-paced world of clients and journalists, reporting, meetings (and more meetings), but, most importantly, an industry I have found a genuine passion for. Now, let’s not be fooled…this was no easy task. The leap from university into the media working world is a sharp change of gear. It takes discipline and a willingness to realise that you need to ‘learn how to work.’ Au Revoir midday wake up calls, hello sweaty rush hour commutes. I was never a morning person. I am now.
This step into the working world has given me the opportunity to learn from the best; to be mentored, and to nurture my own skills, developing in ways beyond my expectations.
Amongst countless highlights, my stand-out moment was working with Bing Ads at Advertising Week Europe. After months of planning, bringing to life an integrated campaign with a hugely passionate team was incredibly rewarding and taught me a great deal about the start-to-finish process of executing a successful campaign.
Armed with an invaluable 12 months under my belt, I will soon head back up North to complete my final year as a student with a confidence that only the working world can give, coupled with a newly-acquired skill set. I’m certain that this experience will stand me in good stead to make a greater contribution in the future.
If you are the student I was last year, looking to embark on a placement year and take that first leap into the world of PR, my advice to you is simple; brace yourself, work hard and enjoy the ride!