They say necessity is the mother of creativity. Or is it invention? And who is "they"? Who am I kidding, I'm looking it up.
*three minutes and one Google search later*
It's invention. Anyways, this quote is evidently pretty accurate, because I'm sitting here on Andrew's back porch locked out of his house (in Mountain Brook, not Tuscaloosa) and I NEED something to do with my life for the next 30 minutes. Alas, my first blog post is born. Y'all can thank Andrew and his poor time management skills for this one.
Sidebar: I really hope his family doesn't have any sort of security cameras installed back here, because I just extensively groomed my eyebrows for about 15 minutes to kill time (and stray hairs). If they hadn't noticed I was high maintenance yet, the cat's definitely out of the bag now.
Do y'all have summer jobs? I'm assuming yes, unless your parents are in the "you're only a kid once" camp (mine definitely are not). My summer "job" is hardly a job, since it's unpaid, but I would take this over a meaningless retail position any day.
I'm interning in Birmingham (hence my current location, Andrew's back porch) all summer with a boutique public relations firm ("boutique" is just a fancy word that means small, and no, it does not involve clothing boutiques--although I originally thought it did, too).
Having a real world job is weird. Sitting at a desk, answering emails, doing whatever odd job the office superiors request of you... It's usually pretty quiet, and I often find my mind elsewhere when I'm not immediately busy with a project or social media calendar.
Don't get me wrong, public relations is a lot of things. It's challenging, strategic, exciting and, sometimes, downright fun. But there are also some things that it isn't: it doesn't, by its very nature, "help" others.
Some of my closest friends are biology majors. They will eventually go on to become doctors who will help people every single day. Their job description is to heal, cure and save. That's a pretty tall order and involves some massive responsibility, but I can only imagine how tremendously fulfilling it is.
PR might be fun and challenging, but it sure doesn't involve saving lives. Sometimes, I struggle with the fact that business is not an altruistic pursuit (in fact, it's quite the opposite). I know I'm good at what I do, and I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it, but there are some days where I wonder if my life is meant to serve some greater purpose--to seek nobler pursuits.
Once upon a more naive time, I had wanted to be a dermatologist. That is, until my own dermatologist informed me it took 12 years, long days and top-notch grades to get there. Discouraged, I pushed that dream aside, but sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice.
I was expressing some of these feelings to one of my co-workers, a sweet, paper-thin nutrition major (hired to work with our food media contacts and clients) named Elizabeth. Immediately, she asked me, "Are you a Christian?"
"Yes," I answered, sitting up a little straighter now that the conversation was taking a spiritual turn. She told me something I have always known on a surface level, but hadn't been reminded of in much too long. God gives us each unique gifts. There's a reason why writing always came so naturally to me, and science so uncomfortably. I was given the most type-A organization skills south of the Mason-Dixon, but couldn't master Calculus I to save my own life (or my GPA).
Just because my career isn't inherently serving the greater good of humanity, my own LIFE still can. Sure, it's great if your career aspirations and spiritual calling coincide, but for most of us, this isn't the case. Our creator gave me my own set of perfectly unique gifts and talents, and I think I've done a pretty good job of developing them thus far as He intended.
Public relations sometimes faces an ethics issue. Within the journalism world, publicists are viewed as spin doctors whose message is designed to manipulate mass publics for self-serving purposes. Public relations practitioners, on the other hand, will tell you earnestly that public relations is simply "doing good and telling others." With a personal inclination to "do good," being an exemplary public relations practitioner comes just a little bit easier.
Figuring out what you want to do with your life is one of the biggest decisions you'll face as a young adult. I've heard some people joke that, at 20, we are tasked with determining the path we will follow for the next 45 years, but are still unable to enjoy a glass of wine (in public).
The good news? If you're freaking out about this colossal responsibility, you aren't alone. There's an easier way to determine how you should best serve others in your lifetime, and it's as easy as reflecting on your own talents.
It might not come as naturally to people who love music as it does to people who love math (engineers have more job security than, say, your average drummer), but there are so many avenues to explore--some of them don't even involve school.
I hope this post leaves you a little less confused than it may have found you. And to those of you who know exactly what path you're on, be thankful and stay open-minded.
The fine print: