By Ashley Zachariah
Sitting on the train, I anxiously listened for upcoming stop announcements. I turned to a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) employee and inquired about my transfer stop. As a newcomer to riding the LIRR, I didn’t realize a double transfer was necessary. Somehow I had managed to end up in Brooklyn, far from my desired destination. I scrambled to Penn Station, pushing past moody New Yorkers craving their coffee on their morning commute. Sprinting onto the Port Washington line, I arrived just in time for my summer internship interview at Zimmerman/Edelson.
My internship interview experience is more than just a comedic story to tell my grandchildren one day. It opened my eyes to the importance of adaptation on both a personal and professional level. Experiencing life outside of my suburban hometown in Connecticut and a quaint college town in upstate New York has been a constant adjustment.
After completing my undergraduate career at Binghamton University, I made the decision that I was ready to try the New York City lifestyle. After all, I went to school with so many Long Islanders and was always eager to see how different city life was. As I write this blog, I have been living on Long Island as a graduate student at Hofstra University for about a year.
Adjusting to the lifestyle has not been as glamorous as anticipated. I’ve had to figure out how to get myself from point A to point B smoothly, learning various train lines and the best travel apps to use. I’ve had to change to a much quicker pace: In the city, I can’t walk and observe the environment around me; on the contrary, I must move briskly, even at the risk of developing massive blisters from not wearing the right shoes. Lastly, I’ve had to adjust from commuting via Amtrak to the LIRR and the subway system. Unlike Amtrak, where I always had a seat, clean air and personal space, the LIRR and subways can be rather uncomfortable. I often lack the luxury of my own seat and am squished too close for comfort with another passenger.
In many ways, public relations practitioners must also be able to step out of their comfort zone and plant themselves in an unknown, constantly shifting environment.
No one would argue that the fundamentals of PR will ever change. The critical need to be an excellent writer and storyteller will remain the same in this industry. However, technology is undeniably changing how to effectively communicate.
For example, one of the newest social media trends is live streaming. As a #Zimmtern, I’ve learned that Facebook Live and Periscope are dominating the social media world. Just when PR professionals adjust to a new social media platform or various platform features, a new one emerges. As the digital world expands, so too must our PR knowledge toolbox.
Change is never easy. However, I believe it is essential for anyone considering working in this industry.