Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University


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Alternatives to Jumping into the “Real World” After Graduation

Hannah Hamner

Senior PR Student Hannah Hamner talks about alternatives to graduation

I’m a big advocate of doing as much as you can before settling down. I’m tired of hearing the term the “real world.” Your life is what you make it. Everything you do and find important is “real,” no matter what path you take.

We live in a society that pressures us to find a 9 to 5 job after graduation. Our parents, teachers and fellow students expect it from us. My question is: what happens if we don’t jump right into our field? Are we shunned from the business world because we decided to take some time for ourselves or do something not directly related to our degree?

The answer commonly, I have found, is “no.”

I’m planning on teaching English abroad for six months after graduation. Because this is a non-traditional approach to life after college, I’ve definitely had concerns about my future success, wondering if my hiatus will put me at a disadvantage when entering the workforce.

Half Obscured Sun Costa Rica

‘Half Obscured Sun
http://www.flickr.com/photos/95572727@N00/138007788
Found on flickrcc.net

I’ve been in contact with various professionals through networking events and Kent State courses. Of the professionals I’ve asked, no one has had a negative response. In fact, many of them encouraged me to go off the beaten path, saying they wish they had taken that cross-country road trip or joined that band.

However, professionals were quick to say that you’ll benefit most from your experience if you can apply it your future career, so don’t think of that time as a just vacation period.

Teaching English will help my communication and leadership skills.

I plan on promoting private English lessons by creating a website and social media accounts that reflect my personal brand in addition to hanging flyers and purchasing an ad in a local paper or two. This will be good practice for the public relations world.

The professionals also stressed that doing something out-of-the-box will make you stand out. Not many applicants can say they went to Central America for an extended period of time and founded an ESL company, no matter how small it is. It will also show your passion for new experiences and add a worldly perspective to any PR agency or communications department.

My advice is, if you have any doubts about finding a “normal” job, think of the alternatives. It could benefit you, not only immediately, but in the long run.

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Learning to Live in the U.S. as an International Student

Leaving the family and the familiar home-country environment and going abroad to study is a big transition for international students. When they step on foreign land their minds are filled with lots of questions and apprehensions. They have to adjust in the new society as well as the new education system.

Navjot

Navjot Grewal shares her experiences as an international student living in the U.S.

I know this first hand as I am an international student who came to the U.S. in 2008. Here are some Dos and Don’ts for international students that may help them adjust in the new atmosphere:

Learn the Culture

Learn the basic aspects of social culture as soon as possible. For example, greeting others with a smile when you have an eye contact; maintaining personal distance while talking (In U.S. people prefer about 2- 3 feet of personal distance); holding or opening the door for others, do not slam it on their face. Do not call your professors as sir or madam; they are addressed as professor or doctor, depending upon their title.

Don’t be shy

Participate in classroom discussions. Do not hesitate to speak and ask questions. You cannot get a good grade without participating in classroom discussions. Talk to your professors; do not hesitate. They are there to help you.

Be Punctual

Always submit your assignments on time. If you cannot submit them for some reason, tell your professor in advance, and you may get an extension for valid reasons. Also do not be late for your class.

Safety

While driving, if a police officer stops you, never leave the car to talk to him. Stay in your car and keep your hands on the steering wheel so that your hands are visible. If someone shouts at you, or some kind of misdemeanor happens on street with a stranger, approach the police and the law will protect you, don’t try to resolve it yourself.

Network and Seek Help

If you are having a problem with your course work, form study groups with native students. It really helps to learn the style of writing. Make use of services provided by the university like the Writing Commons and Career Services. Join student organizations and learn more about your profession.

Be well informed

Read the international student newsletter for updates on health insurance, immigration news and events for international students. For example, Kent State University has ISSS weekly newsletter informing students about news and events on campus.

Have Fun

Go to university events, meet people, and make friends.