When I made the decision to pursue my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), I had been completely removed from formal education for about six years. Needless to say, it was a challenging adjustment to pick up a textbook again to sit down and study. However, I quickly realized that I needed to make APR work as a standard part of my day-to-day routine, otherwise I would end up scrambling to get everything done the night before it was due.
Ever since college, I’ve been a very routine-based person, at least during the workweek. I am able to operate most efficiently by waking up the same time every day, eating the same breakfast, going to work at the same time and abiding by the same after-work habits (dinner, gym, TV, read). As monotonous as it sounds, it helps me establish good practices and allows me to focus on achieving specific goals.
So after studying, I knew that I would have to carve out some time in my after-work routine dedicated to writing my Readiness Review Questionnaire, putting together and practicing my presentation and studying for the computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. Instead of going to the library and studying for a few hours on free weekends, I found it much more helpful to dedicate 30–45 minutes each day to chip away at my APR goal.
Luckily for me, this addition to my routine came with milestones along the way. I was able to break up the work by focusing on each step individually. A couple of months after submitting my APR application, I was motivated by the fact that my Readiness Review Questionnaire had been approved. About a month after that, I was exhilarated after giving my Readiness Review presentation to the panel. Then finally came the computer-based Examination, which culminated in the most stressful 30 seconds of my life as you wait for the computer to tell if you passed or not.
Now, this routine-based approach isn’t one-size-fits-all. Other people will probably find different study methods more effective for their needs. Yet for me, the APR mountain seemed much less steep when you climb a little bit each day.
Stefan Cross, APR, is a group manager at Weber Shandwick Detroit. He works onsite for his client, General Motors’ Global Connected Customer Experience (GCCX). Through the GCCX, he supports a multitude of communications efforts surrounding vehicle infotainment, vehicle connectivity, OnStar and GM customer relations. He graduated from Michigan State University in May of 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in advertising. Connect with Stefan on LinkedIn.