The Misperception of Samantha Jones

The first question everyone has when they find out that you’re in college is, “What is your major?” For some this is a frustrating question because they don’t know the answer. For Public Relations majors this is a frustrating question because the other person doesn’t understand the answer.

I’ll admit that before I studied PR I, too, did not have a full understanding of the area and was not sure that it was something I wanted to do. You could say that I just kind of fell into the major.

In high school I wrote for the school newspaper. I enjoyed the process: the research, the writing, and seeing the final product and reactions to it. Based on this interest, I entered the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. One of my favorite things? Writing. What do I find interesting? The media. Sure, why not? 

Then you must pick a concentration. Everything sounds interesting, what’s best for me? After a lot of discussion with my advisor I found my answer: Public Relations. Upon sharing this idea with friends, everyone had surprisingly excited reactions. I wasn’t sure why friends majoring in Political Science or family who were doctors and sales reps could become so enthusiastic about my writing-intensive choice.

Then came several comments that explained the excitement. “Wow, that’s like what Samantha Jones does, right?” “I didn’t know you could major in something like that. How fun!” “Do you take classes in party planning and stuff?”

Ouch. Everyone thought I had selected a major to get myself into the hottest parties and buy myself $500 pairs of shoes. 

In Professor Duncan McDonald’s Writing for the Media class I heard him emphasize several times that Public Relations is one of the most misunderstood and most challenging careers. “Writing intensive” & “requires complex and strategic thinkers.” If only my friends and family could hear this lecture.

They would then understand that I am not choosing this course to follow a glamorous lifestyle but to utilize my love of words and writing, to interact with various groups, and to share all kinds of information in all sorts of venues.

As I approach my college graduation in June and begin to look for work, my goal will not only be to find a job that suits me best, but to use my work to make positive changes. I will not strive to live a fabulous life. I will strive to do the best work that I know how to do and to prove to those who misunderstand that our work is important and powerful.

Mistaken Stereotype of Public Relations

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