Monday, April 23, 2012

Carpe Diem

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the end-of-the-year communications department banquet. Professor Melissa Friesen assured me that the students would be interested in knowing how I ended up working in PR at Bluffton University, and why have I stayed here for 20+ years.

Not sure what the students gained from my walk down memory lane, but it was interesting for me to acknowledge the closed doors, opened windows, seized and missed opportunities that brought me to this place.

When I graduated from Bluffton in 1986, I did not aspire to be a web communication manager who works with social media. That job description did not – obviously – even exist. I suspect that many Bluffton alumni can relate. Thank goodness for our liberal arts education that gave us a wide base of knowledge and preparation for life.

I’m so thankful for the opportunities offered through the Learn and Earn program. My campus job working as a writer for the communications office (a.k.a. public relations) provided a bridge between academic and professional. More than just padding the resume, my time as editor for The Witmarsum student newspaper and as a Bluffton News intern provided leadership and networking opportunities.

Bluffton students continue to embrace these opportunities. Seniors were invited to tell about their internship experiences. One communication student interned at WTLW Lima Christian television gaining experience in filming and editing. Another received a broad experience at Findlay Publishing Company, working for a time in radio, print and promotions, even providing voice for commercials “when they needed a 10-year-old girl.” Not an internship, but another student worked in the fall with the WTLW sports crew.

These are such wonderful experiences to mesh real-world knowledge with academic learning to support the relatively new broadcast and journalism major offered through the communication department.

It’s something for us all to remember, regardless of whether we’re starting our career or nearing the end, always embrace opportunities offered by the open windows.

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