Cheers to Kwantlen PR (and VTSL Practicum)

A blog long overdue. A week long, anyways.

Cheers to finally finishing the Kwantlen PR program and the VTSL practicum!

After 2 years at Kwantlen, I can’t believe it just ended. Just.like.that.

Graduation is not until June 9th of this year, but the program has unleashed me to run around the PR world with the skills I have, and the enthusiasm I have to learn more.

But before that ended, I had one-month practicum with the Vancouver TheatreSports League. Boy, did the month of March go by so fast! It was crazy. I was busy with marketing, media relations, fundraising, designing, typical intern scanning stuff, etc. I really had to pull out my inner dork that spits out hilarious, clever comments here and there, in order to keep up with the humour that the Vancouver TheatreSports is best known for. Fun, fun, fun but I actually had to think lol.

Here’s my final PR presentation on the VTSL Practicum (PPT in PDF form)

So, on the last day of the two-year Kwantlen PR program, the whole class shared their PRacticum experience. It was actually interesting to hear from classmates and see them apply their skills to the real world. Some truly enjoyed it, a few got hired, and others now know better on what in PR they want to focus on. I suppose that is the point of the program after all. To expose you to PR, and let you explore your strengths and face your weaknesses, add to your skills, and let you grow into a PRofessional.

What I learned from Kwantlen PR:

  • Be open-minded.-People come from different backgrounds, and it is up to you to respect each other, and work with each other.
  • Don’t say you can’t. -We always tend to underestimate our abilities. To be honest, I never thought I’d be able to design!  I may not be the best, but I did it and I enjoy it. I said I can’t, but I proved myself wrong. Same with a lot of my practicum tasks. I thought I can’t but I just said yes anyways, and figured it out along the way.
  • Time-management-Use a planner! You need to make deadlines for yourself, in order to motivate you. But for some reason, pressure is also good. Working under pressure makes things more realistic on how things would be in the real world. However, either way, get it done. Get it done well. And with time management, and knowing your priorities, you will get things done accordingly, and with some sleep (yes, 4 hours is good enough!).
  • Get a notebook.-I was totally cheaping out before with buying this black and white designer-looking notebook from HomeSense because it was almost $10. But I kept going back to it, and eventually I gave in and bought it. I do not regret it whatsoever since I bring it with me everywhere. I write everything on it. From school project ideas, Hampton stuff, LOT stuff, VTSL stuff, random thoughts about everything/nothing. As a PR professional (or even anyone), it’s natural to keep a notebook. You wouldn’t want that thought to leave your thoughts for now…forever.
  • Be organized-I have to admit I always get excited with organizing my materials, but in the middle of the semester, I always fall back to my disorganized self. This is something I truly need to work on a bit more since I am quite a pack rat and have this urge to take everything I don’t need home. That gets everything lost.
  • Be mindfulI was one of the biggest wrecks of my visual presentation class because I was not really “there” , therefore I was acting really really craaaaazy and outtttaaa this woooorld! It was as if I’ve consumed caffeine all day and all night. Next time, I tried just being mindful of what’s happening around me. Just being there, in the moment, and it actually allows you to present yourself better. I even tried this outside of presentations, and acted accordingly on what’s currently happening. Which leads me to my next point…
  • Just breathe.- Nothing can be worst than what’s happening right now. Like literally, what’s happening right this second will be the past in just a few seconds. So breathe. Deal with what’s in front of you right now. Also if you breathe, you can actually see things for what they are, as opposed to worrying about the future. I still need to do a lot of this, but I breathe more now than I ever did in college.
  • Get out there networking.As a PR professional (would I really be considered one already although I just got out of school?), relationships are VERY important. Go get your name, how you can help, all out there. After all, PR is also about public relationships. Make them. Nothing’s bigger than your personality, and how you leave that impression.
  • Use social media– It’s extremely powerful. Get involved online. But don’t forget to go offline! Some people are so charming online, until you meet them in person. Different story.  But nevertheless, create an online presence. Get a LinkedIn, if you don’t already have one. I’m still working on a stronger online presence, and this blog is for that purpose (and for practise too).
  • Sleep early.I really regret being late lots and lots of times to go to class, especially since I live the closest to the school (3 min. bus ride). It’s true what they say: The closer you live, the calmer you’d be, the later you’d get. And I blame most of my lateness on my insomniac inner owl. I slept at 4 am to wake up at 7 am at times! And not because of school work, but just cause Thought Catalog, Listverse, YouTube, documentaries…etc. are so interesting. Pay for it tomorrow.

I learned more stuff of course, but this is all I want to share right now. Don’t worry, more will come. Things will pop up and make me realize what a valuable experience I had at Kwantlen. After 3 years at Kwantlen Polytechnic University Richmond (I took Sociology for one year), that chapter of my life has ended. And I am so proud to be a Kwantlen student! It was such a comfortable transition from highschool, and I was so annoyed at my mom for not letting me go to SFU like I planned to (Got accepted, but mom said it’s too far). It worked out in the end. The clueless highschool lawyer-wannabe finally found out what she actually loved but didn’t know the name for…Public Relations.

Kwantlen PR gives those interested the practical experience they’d ever want as they get enter public relations. After completion, the skills you’ve acquired may allow you to choose different career paths as well that are not just PR concentrated. You may find yourself prepared to greet a career in event management, sponsorship, fundraising, not-for-profit, corporate, design, social media, branding, etc. Either way, I believe that Kwantlen PR is one of the best PR programs in BC that prepares the students, and gives them the perfect PR mentors in the form of experienced instructors.

Cheers to my parents for giving me education, to my instructors for PReparing me for the PR world, and to my classmates for crossing the finish line. Cheers to everyone else in between, who’s helped me keep sane during the whole process, and allowed me to make strategic decisions and make valuable connections. This is not the end, but just the beginning.

Just sayin’…

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4 thoughts on “Cheers to Kwantlen PR (and VTSL Practicum)

  1. Thank you so much for posting this Justine! Even though it is two years old it remains extremely helpful for someone like myself. I am currently wrapping up my degree at Western University and I’m strongly considering the Kwantlen Public Relations Program for next year. You gave a lot of insight that really proved how useful the program is! Hope your career is going well!

    Peter

    1. Hi Peter,

      No worries! I thoroughly enjoyed going to Kwantlen for the PR program. It was a very practical program and I was able to apply skills to actual PR/Corporate Communications jobs right away. I find that this is not necessarily the case for other similar type programs in the province, based on what I’ve heard from friends.

      Let me know if you have other questions, I’d be happy to help. Best of luck!

      Cheers,
      Justinne

      1. Hi Justinne! Thank you so much for your reply! I’m really hoping I get accepted as it looks like an amazing opportunity for young professionals like myself. I really enjoy your blog. If you have twitter id love to follow you just incase I have any questions! Have a great holiday season.

        Peter

      2. Thanks, Peter. I am sorry for this late reply! Yikes. Happy New Year!

        Yes, let’s follow each other on Twitter. I am @JustinneRamirez. Follow me and I will reciprocate 🙂

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