Had a chance to hang out with some very smart PR professionals while at the Conference as well as some incredibly bright young PRSSA members who hold great promise for the future of our profession.
But now I’m back…somewhat reluctantly…to the “reality” of higher education and its challenges and opportunities.
This afternoon, though, while waiting for our shuttle to ferry me to the local subway station, I had an unexpected yet very invigorating chat with two former students, one of whom is interested in pursuing a career in public relations, the other undecided at this point…both of whom are already looking, as sophomores, ahead to “life after Curry.”
The young lady is set. She’s actively involved in the Curry College PR Student Association, is diligently taking all the required courses for the PR Concentration, and has her eyes set on an internship.
The young man is hovering. He kind of knows where his interests lie. He just doesn’t know exactly how to proceed both in college and in life after. But as he and I talked, I realized that he has his act firmly together.
What struck me was the unabashed youthful enthusiasm both of these young people showed. They are eager. They are interested. They are motivated.
This, in turn, reminds me that my job as a public relations professional now teaching the next generation(s) of PR pros doesn’t end when my “troops” head off the stage with their diplomas clutched tightly in their hands.
No. This is a long-term commitment that promises these young people that I…and countless others…will be standing by to help, to advise, to console, and to encourage.
Our “bond” says that I, the veteran, will share with them, the novices, my knowledge, my experience, my lessons learned, and my dreams. On their side of the equation, the promise is that they will take my guidance and counsel and forge their own paths as they carry on the traditions defined by Ivy Ledbetter Lee, Edward L. Bernays, Arthur W. Page, and countless other public relations pioneers.
While this sounds daunting…and to otherwise “normal” people it probably would be…this should be the norm, especially for those of us for whom public relations has been our passion. We should share this passion with future generations.
There is a “payback” in this that comes from seeing our young charges mature over the course of four years into eager, competent young men and women for whom the world, as Forrest Gump said, “is like a box of chocolates.”
From us, they get the introduction to their futures…a peek at what lies ahead as a reward for their diligence and dedication.
From them, we get the assurance that the future lies in good hands…that the groundwork we have laid either as PR professionals or PR professors or a combination of the two will be maintained and strengthened.
The future…it’s in front of us…in the eager enthusiasm of our young up-and-coming PR pros.
Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, is Associate Professor of Communication (Undergraduate) at Curry College in Milton, MA. He also is Visiting Lecturer, Organizational and Professional Communication (Graduate), at Regis College in Weston, MA. Prior to his move into academia, Kirk practiced nonprofit and government public relations and marketing for more than 35 years in the US as well as Asia. Accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Kirk previously served as a Member of PRSA’s national Board of Directors and has held leadership positions with PRSA Educators Academy and PRSA Northeast District as well as with the Boston and Hawaii PRSA chapters.