My Very First PR Event!

9.00am – Three of us first year students walk into room TS212 early on a Wednesday morning ready for a busy day ahead of us. Those studying PR were gathered to partake in Solent’s ‘E-Campaign In A Day’ where us students were given the task titled red‘Solent Saves The World’.

I felt a little intimidated walking into a room full of students from the second and third years of our degree as well as various Masters students. After only 7 weeks of studying the subject, we were getting chucked into the deep end and were working with students with much more experience and knowledge than us. A little bit daunting if I do say so myself.

We then sat through an introduction about the day and even got given some advice from Jason, the President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). From there, we were put into groups and given a topic. Our group, contained us three first year PR students and two MA students, where neither of them had studied PR as an undergraduate degree. Let’s say we were all slightly concerned. However, we were given the topic of Homelessness and decided to do our best regardless of our collective lack of PR experience.

10.00am – 4.00pm – So for the next 6 hours we created our e-campaign titled ‘What If It Was You’. We used what we knew, therefore we heavily focussed on the use of social media in order to complete our aim, which was to change people’s perceptions of homelessness. Alongside this, we created posters and a video comprised of facts to create an emotional response. We even got a like from The Salvation Army UK’s twitter account which was a highlight for us!

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4.00pm – Time to present! All 8 groups had to create a presentation of their campaign and share it at the end of the day ready for our lecturers, and Jason, to come to a decision of who’s was best. Despite the other fantastic campaigns and our lack of confidence, we won the pitch! How surprising!

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What a long, tiring yet resourceful day it was! I learnt a lot from the day, particularly to follow my own instinct and to speak up! I will definitely be taking part in the next e-campaign event, that’s for sure.

Talk Soon, Em x

 

What Is PR?

Since I decided to do my degree in public relations, I have been asked multiple times what exactly that is. It is not a very well known concept amongst the general public and in my mind is very hard to explain whilst giving it justice.

Whenever I tell people what degree I am doing at Uni, the main response is “Oh, what does that involve?”. Overtime I have created the generic response of “managing reputations of companies”. I personally know that this does not sum up PR but to others this creates an idea of the subject and we move on. However, PR is so much more than managing reputations. That is one thing I love about this course, it is going to give me a wide range of knowledge and experience which I can then take with me into the industry.

If I were to explain what PR is to you now, the list would be incredibly long! However, here are a few key areas that PR & Comms covers.

  • Media Relations
  • Crisis Management
  • Event Planning & Management
  • Sponsorship
  • Supporting Marketing
  • Public Affairs
  • Corporate PR
  • Strategic Communication
  • Internal Communications
  • Copywriting

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In the industry you can either work in-house or for an agency. In-house is when you work for a single company and your job is to manage that brand. Whereas, an agency will deal with multiple companies at a single time. There isn’t much difference in the day to day tasks done by a PR professional within these two areas, plus every day in this job is likely to change anyway!

Also, public relations does interlink with other areas such as Journalism and Marketing very well and that is what makes it even harder to define exactly what PR is.

Anyway I hope this has clarified some things for those of you who were unsure on what PR is! And I’m sure I will learn in much more detail what exactly PR is in the next three years of my degree, so I will update you later on!

Talk soon, Em x

My First Week At Uni!

The 16th of September 2017 will forever be a memorable day for me as it was the day that I moved 111 miles away from home to begin a new chapter in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been looking forward to this day pretty much since I got my UCAS offer confirmed. However, there is something about being almost abandoned in a strange city that can be a little daunting.

I moved to Southampton to begin my BA (Hons) Public Relations & Communications degree at Southampton Solent University. If you ask me why I chose this course, I honestly couldn’t tell you a direct reason. Simply, I loved the idea of the course and wanted to do a course that was different to what I’d done before which would then give me a successful career at the end of my three years here.

As I write this, I have been living in my student accommodation for one week! My room is very small but incredibly cosy and I honestly feel very much at home. Plus my flat mates are all lovely which is of course very important as we are now stuck together for this year. My love for Floor 7 will be eternal, I’m certain of it!

My very first day in Southampton was spent wandering the city with a few of my flatmates. We wanted to get to know the city a little before we were thrown into the busy student life we knew was awaiting us on Monday morning. It was a lovely sunny, but slightly chilly, day for exploring the place we were ready to call home for the next few years.

      

My first week has generally been me going to Uni for welcome week 10am-5pm most days, going home to eat and then either a relaxing night in or off out for the freshers events the Southampton night life has to offer! It has been an incredibly tiring week but I have made so many new friends from all parts of the Uni which has been absolutely incredible.

During the welcome week I have spent time with those on my course, we are a small cohort of 14 students so we are already getting to know each other well. Our sessions have varied from building rapport (technical PR stuff I know!) to storytelling to mini golf! It has been a different experience for me which I have enjoyed very much and hope to continue over my time in the lovely Southampton.

Talk soon, Em x

The Final Destination: Huntington Beach

This was our final destination!! Huntington Beach!!

We decided to finish our holiday with a relaxing location so we spent our last three days at our hotel and walking along the beach. We stayed at the Huntington Hilton which was by far the nicest hotel we stayed in.

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I loved Huntington Beach and (alongside Laguna Beach) was my favourite spot throughout the holiday.

Lots of Love Em x

Yosemite & Sequoia National Parks

Yosemite is a stunning national park in California. Basically there are a lot of trees, cliffs and heights! We spent two days in Yosemite and drove around the park to the various viewing points. There were some truly amazing sights and it was pretty cool to see something so different. We definitely do not get places like this in the UK. My family even saw a tiny bear in the wood as we were driving through but of course I missed it!!

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Sequoia is very similar to Yosemite. However, it is the home of the world’s largest tree! Exciting stuff I know! We only drove through Sequoia for one day and didn’t stay over in the park. The only reason we went was to see the biggest tree, and it was massive! The pictures do not give it justice.

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Both these places are incredibly beautiful! However, I have to admit I got bored fairly quickly. After a while every tree starts to look the same and I did feel a little claustrophobic when we were leaving Sequoia which was very odd. But it was worth the trip, I enjoyed seeing a different part of nature which you wouldn’t see everyday where I live.

Lots of Love Em x

Half Moon Bay

Next we stayed in Half Moon Bay which is quite close to San Francisco. We didn’t spend much time in Half Moon Bay as we were only there for two nights and spent our one entire day in San Fran. However, the restaurants were really nice as was our Hotel.

In San Fran we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and stopped at a view point. Then we drove into the centrewhere we walked around a little and found the cable cars. Despite an hour or two wait we rode all the way to the end and back again. That was the best bit about the day! San Fran is really hilly and I was standing on the edge of the car so the journey was so much fun.

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I personally didn’t really like San Fran as much as when we were walking around there was quite a few odd people which kind of scared me :/ but I did enjoy the cable cars and the experience of San Fran.

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Lots Of Love Em x

Monterey

Our next destination on our little road trip was Monterey! This city is famous for their sea life and amazingly we got to go whale watching. The journey from Santa Monica to Monterey was the worst thing ever. It took us 6 hours or something ridiculous as we decided to take the coastal route so we could see the coastal scenery. For around 2 hours towards the end of the journey we were winding round mountainous roads which were so high up. It was not fun for someone who gets travel sickness! However, we did stop at some points and saw some incredible sights of the ocean including some whales down below us.

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We didn’t have long in Monterey so we tried to do as much as possible! We visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium which was so amazing. There were so many cute animals including my new favourites, the sea otters. The aquarium there is so different from our ones here in the UK, this one literally backed onto the ocean. The view from the outside of the aquarium was beautiful especially as the weather was amazing!

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As I said earlier we went whale watching! This was an incredible experience. We saw so many types of whales and dolphins out in the bay. It took us about an hour on the boat to get out to where most of them are found. It was so windy, my hair was a complete mess and surprisingly it was really cold despite the 30 degree temperatures and sunny day back on shore. Seeing these species up close was amazing and kind of unrealistic, I couldn’t believe how big they are and it still feels weird to say I have been within 5 metres of the biggest animal on Earth! At the time I wasn’t really into the whole whale watching thing as I did get a little sea sick but it was still a great experience. Also, a few days before we were there, the BBC were in the area filming a documentary from the aquarium. We actually saw Matt Baker on our way to dinner one night! So ironic that we meet a British TV presenter whilst in California. It was so hard to take good pictures of the whales as they don’t stay out of the water long enough, but here is one I got…

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On our last day we went to visit Pebble Beach which is a golf club near Monterey. My brother loves golf which is why we had to go. Apparently it’s a big deal in the golfing world.

Also, Monterey is where John Steinbeck was born. Those of you who don’t recognise this name he wrote the book ‘Of Mice & Men’ which many British teens are forced to read as part of our English exams. So when we spotted his statue in the centre of the harbour my parents made us take a picture with it.

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From this point onwards we were out of the typical L.A sights and were viewing another incredible part of California. Monterey is such a beautiful area in its own way and features so much history. It was so different to the places we have already been but it is just as good in its own way!

Lots of Love Em x

Santa Monica & LA

After our three days in the lovely Laguna Beach, we travelled to Santa Monica which is around 45 minutes away from Los Angeles. We spent our day doing all the tourist spots in central LA before staying in a hotel in Santa Monica.

Los Angeles was somewhere I really wanted to go to whilst in California. It was definitely an interesting experience and I would recommend going there to see it for yourself.

We started off on the Hollywood Boulevard where we walked along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and saw different celebrities names on a star on the pavement. Bit of a weird concept thinking about it, but when in Hollywood! Along the Boulevard there is also the Chinese Theatre, it is a cinema which has held multiple movie premiere’s.

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Afterwards, we went on a tour guide bus where they drive you around Hollywood and show you the sights. We saw the Hollywood Sign, some random celebrities houses and famous filming locations. It was interesting to see things that you would not have realised were there, such as the church from Sister Act which is just two minutes off of the Boulevard. We also saw Katy Perry’s house up in the Hollywood Hills and we drove through Beverly Hills. I was hoping to spot a Kardashian or someone but no luck. Although I think I saw Vin Diesel driving past us, but I wasn’t sure. It could have been any bald man!

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After our LA tour, we went back to Santa Monica where we met up with some family friends who live in Phoenix, Arizona. It was lovely to see them again after around 8 years. We had a lovely meal at a seafood restaurant which overlooked the ocean.

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Then the next day we went back into LA where my dad had booked us a studio tour at Warner Bros. This was almost the best bit of the entire holiday! It was so interesting to see all the lots where they film the big shows like Pretty Little Liars, The Big Bang Theory and Friends (when it was on air that is). I loved it though, it was an amazing experience. Oh and I also got sorted into Gryffindor by the sorting hat and got to hold a real Oscar!!

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That evening, after the studio tour, we walked around Santa Monica and had dinner at Johnny Rockets! I wish we had walked down the pier now but at the time I was so tired we didn’t bother. We actually got the bus from our hotel down to the pier where all the restaurants were and that was a weird experience. We were those confused tourists amongst all the Americans, and some of them were quite weird. It was a little unnerving!

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That was it for Santa Monica and LA. It was so cool to see another part of Cali. Despite some of the areas being a little rough and I guess you could say scary, it was another experience of American life from a different angle.

Lots of Love Em x

Laguna Beach

Our first destination was Laguna Beach, which is around an hour away from LA. We stayed in Laguna for three nights and spent the days mostly relaxing by our hotel pool! The hotel was so lovely and was only a five minute walk down to the beach.

After our flight we arrived in Laguna at around 2pm on Tuesday, we went straight to our hotel and sat by the pool for a few hours. The rest of that day was pretty boring as we were so tired after our flight.

The weather was so hot and sunny that on Wednesday we went to the Irvine Spectrum Shopping Mall! There were so many American shops which we don’t have in the UK such as Aeropostale and Target. It was amazing, they had such a variety of shops and restaurants. We had a lovely lunch at P.F Changs, which is a Chinese restaurant.

 Our last day in Laguna, Thursday, was a very relaxed day. However, at 5am that morning my GCSE results were emailed through so I woke up early and checked my email every five minutes or so! Luckily my results were good, so we went out for a celebratory breakfast overlooking the ocean! The rest of that day was very relaxed and I continued to read Paper Towns which I started when we arrived in Laguna. For our last evening we found an open roof bar which again had a lovely view of the ocean. I loved Laguna so much due to its simplicity and would most definitely return.

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Lots of Love Em x

California Bound

Here we go! Today was the flight; 11 hours on a plane! We left home at 5am which was just too early for me. It was a long journey, a little boring at times and I got uncomfortable after a while. But when the destination is Cali, who can complain.

Fortunately we had been upgraded to what they call Club Class, my dad was fairly excited when he got the email!

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By the end of the flight I started to feel claustrophobic and I hadn’t slept much either which didn’t really help, especially after a 5am start! As soon as we stepped off the plane you could instantly feel the heat of the Californian sun, it’s going to be a good two weeks.

Lots of Love Em x