Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hard Work Pays Off

The phrase, "hard work pays off" proved itself true to me last year. Growing up I was always just average. I got average grades in school, I was an average athlete and I had an average house to go home to every night.

When I reached my junior year of college last year at Ohio Northern University (ONU), I decided I did not want to be this average girl anymore. I decided that I would work toward achieving a 4.0 GPA for the semester and stop labeling myself as average. The goal seemed almost impossible because of the classes that I was taking at the time, but I did not give up.

There were multiple moments throughout the semester that tested how badly I wanted the 4.0, but when I was assigned a fifteen page paper with a literature review, I thought that I would never make it to my goal. That was the night I pulled my first college all-nighter. I had a hand-full of classmates dealing with the same loss of time that was needed to write this paper so we all crammed into the computer lab that night and worked on our papers while keeping each other company.

When staying up until 6 a.m. to write a paper, I suggest not having a 9 a.m. class the next day because I never made it to that class. I did however turn my paper in on time and I received a B on it! I could not have been more relieved to get that grade because I knew I was on the right track still.

Next, I had to get through exam week. I was worried about exams because I was being sucked dry from all of the assignments and tests I already had that semester. Luckily, right before exam week arrived, I had some amazing things happen to me.

I participated in the Zeta Tau Alpha Race for the Ribbon 5k and placed third. I received a trophy as a token to remind me of the hard work that had just paid off.

ZTA Race for the Ribbon 5k - 3rd Place

That week I also won an award titled, "Looks for the good in everyone." This award meant more to me than the trophy. I also received an award from my PRSSA chapter titled, "Outstanding New Member."

Lauren Staley and I accepting PRSSA awards

This week was the most excited week that I had ever had. The awards gave me enough drive to get through exam week. When my grades were finally updated, I saw that I had gotten the 4.0 that I had worked so hard to achieve.

That time in my life showed me that if I work hard enough and if I have enough passion, I can get through anything and achieve anything that I set my mind to. My junior year at ONU was the year that I stopped feeling average.
This goes to prove that no matter who you are or what you do in life, you do not have to be average. Hard work does pay off.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Living in a PR World

This world would be a mess without public relations specialists to clean it up and keep it on the right track. Before attending college, "public relations" was never in my vocabulary. I knew about the finger in the chili bowl at Wendy's but continued to go to Wendy's despite this. I had heard about Toyota's many recalls and that people were not buying that brand of car but I did not know why. These were examples of me becoming familiar with public relations and not even knowing it.

When Wendy's had the finger in their chili incident, they hired a public relations firm who began thinking of ways to fix this horrid reputation that Wendy's would soon be battling. The firm helped dig Wendy's out of this bad public relations hole.

The public relations firm first identified Wendy's problem and then brainstormed with them on how to deal with it. Wendy's problem was that the public was now thinking of them as a gross fast food restaurant because the public was focusing more on the one-time contaminated chili instead of the delicious food that is sold every day. To fix this, the firm handed out free frosty's to hundreds of people at the Wendy's location that this incident occurred. This helped recover a good reputation for Wendy's. This good public relations fix was why I never stopped eating Wendy's, but at the time I did not even know it.

Toyota on the other hand did not handle their crisis as successfully. Their crisis ended up costing people their lives. In one of its Lexus models, the brake would get stuck and the vehicles would continuously accelerate.

Instead of doing a total recall right away, Toyota thought it would be cheaper and easier for them to say that this was because of the floor mat which jammed up under the brakes. They required all Lexus models to get this fixed. Eventually more crashes occurred and Toyota had to do a recall.

This negative reputation that Toyota received (and still holds to some) is because they did not handle their crisis well. Their public relations department did not identify the problem, or fix it, in a successful manner.

After attending college and declaring a public relations major, I discovered why I feel the way I do about some organizations like Wendy's and Toyota. I have also learned that not admitting there is a problem or lying about a crisis is the worst mistake that a person can make in the public relations world.

However, crises are just one aspect of this big public relations world. Public relations has to do with constructing and maintaining a positive and professional reputation whether it be for a person, a place or an organization. A public relations specialist has one of the most important jobs in the world and most people do not even think twice about who they are or what they do.