So, Wednesday I experienced my first class of graduate school at IUPUI, Public Relations Research and Evaluation. I admit, it was intimidating–and not just because my instructor is nicknamed “The Hammer.”
It seemed as if everyone in the class already knew each other from former classes, some already in their third or fourth semesters. It seems as if, for now, I’m the odd woman out. The class includes a 40-page research paper (20 pages of a public relations proposal and 20 pages of research and evaluation), a midterm, a presentation, and more. I’m glad I made the decision to stick with only one class this semester, on top of my 40-hour work week.
Our instructor, Stephanie McFarland, seems very interesting. She’s worked with pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly, and other major names like Sallie Mae. Besides having an intimidating intensity, she had several insights about public relations as a profession:
- It’s NOT spin or messaging, it’s about relationships
- It’s NOT an audience, it’s stakeholders
- It’s NOT communication, it’s engagement
- People are NOT logical, they are emotional
I’m optimistic about the class, and getting to know all my other classmates (in time). I finished all of my readings for the week already, and I actually find our assigned book fascinating. Public relations is becoming more than my profession, but a hobby and a big part of my life. Now, the biggest hurdle is adjusting to college life again!