March 13, 2024

“I don’t see myself ever working full time in public relations,” I wrote in my journal fall of sophomore year.
But then during an internship interview spring of junior year, I said, “I could see myself in the marketing communications and public relations world after graduation.”

What inspired that change of heart? It was my job as a student writer for the public relations office in Cedarville University’s Marketing and Communications Department. My three and a half semesters there have grown me both as a person and as a writer, making a significant impact on my life and increasing my confidence. And, I found a passion for storytelling in marketing that I didn’t realize was inside me, waiting to be unlocked.

Every semester, our writers cover different departments around campus. These are called our “beats.” Right now, I cover the school of nursing and the industrial and innovative design program. Every week, I contact faculty/staff in my beats to stay current on the happenings in their departments—this could include upcoming events, faculty publications, or inspiring testimonies of both students and faculty members. I submit three to five of those story ideas to my supervisor each week for review.

Once my supervisor assigns a story to me, I start researching, which involves interviewing any contacts I’m given. And the writing process here looks the same as it does in a lot of places: write a solid draft and send it to an editor. We’re also responsible for getting photos for each story, which can be either from the contacts themselves or from our campus photographer.

What’s really cool is when you submit a story idea and it gets assigned to you. Watching a story go from concept to completion is so rewarding! Especially when it gets published outside the university. We regularly have stories picked up by WDTN (out of Dayton), Dayton Daily News, and K-LOVE. Quite the resume builder!

In PWID, I’ve learned to be intentional with my words and balance both clarity and conciseness. Using fewer words isn’t always the right choice, as you can make your message unclear when trying too hard to be concise. Journalism is a style of writing without a lot of “fluff,” so the balance of clarity and conciseness is something I think about frequently.

My job in public relations has forced me outside my comfort zone. I’ve had to pick up a lot of new skills, like interviewing, juggling a lot of moving parts, and developing a proper work-life balance (yes, even though it’s only a part time job!). It took me the first semester to feel like I got my feet under me, and the second semester went much more smoothly.

This job has grown me a lot personally as well as professionally. I didn’t want to walk into a new job thinking I knew everything, but I was a writer—how hard could it be? However, the journalistic style was new for me, so I had to be humble as I stumbled through my first couple articles (which were highly edited by my supervisors). And even now that I’m a “more seasoned” student writer, I still have to remember that I don’t know everything and that other people’s suggestions are worth considering. As someone once explained to me, our best thinking sometimes happens with others!

Over time, I’ve felt less and less stressed about this job, as I’ve finally fallen into my rhythm. But something that the early stress taught me was to keep pressing on, even when I felt like I wasn’t doing well. I didn’t give up. I kept responding to emails. I kept drafting stories. And editing. And editing. And emailing some more. There’s value in challenging yourself to do something you know is going to stretch you, because that’s where you learn and grow the most.

I wouldn’t trade the growth I’ve seen in myself for anything. I’m more confident in myself and my writing, and I’ve developed perseverance through new and difficult things, a skill I’ve transferred over into other areas of my life.
And to top it all off, I’ve found something I love and am passionate about. I didn’t know quite how much I enjoyed hearing people’s stories and working with them to create a piece that encapsulates their experiences… but I do. So while I don’t know whether I’ll end up in marketing communications after graduation, I do know I’m being prepared to enter that world through this job in Cedarville’s public relations office.

About the author

Sarah Mummert

Sarah Mummert is a junior Professional Writing and Information Design student.


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