Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why Paying My Bills Has Made Me a Better PR Student

By Rebecca Seylar, Editorial Director

Only months after turning 18, I got hired at my first “real” job. Three years later, I’m still at the same locally-owned restaurant, serving my regulars dirty martinis and spaghetti with meatballs. 

What has three years as a server taught me? Often I’m simply reminded to never underestimate the value of patience, but generally I’ve learned things about myself and others that apply to various aspects of my professional and social life. 

Most importantly, paying my bills throughout college has taught me not only to prioritize, but how to be responsible and realistic. Sometimes I really, really want that new pair of shoes, but I know my AT&T bill is just days away, waiting to be paid. Learning how to budget is tricky, but it is an incredibly important skill for young professionals to grasp before graduating college.

Time management and organizational skills have also proven to be exponentially important as the years go on. School, internships and work can sometimes take up so much of my time, the hours left for sleep can be tallied on one hand. Avoiding distractions is often hard, but it’s a necessity if you often find yourself sucked into the time machines otherwise known as Facebook and Netflix.

As a public relations student, I’ve learned all about building relationships, and that effective communication strategies result in positive outcomes. As a server, good communication often can be the difference between getting stiffed on a $50 bill and receiving a tip that will pay for my meal that night. When at work, I have to display a positive image and get a feel for the type of person I am serving at that table. Adapting my attitude and responses accordingly is often helpful, and I’m constantly finding myself putting what I’ve learned in my PR classes to work in real life. 

Maintaining a job through college was financially necessary for me, but in reality it has been rewarding in so many ways. In addition to career related internships, I have a paid, real-world job that taught me personal skills and a lot about myself. If you don’t have one already, consider one of these 10 jobs that U.S. News says look good on your resume. Luckily for me, waitressing made the list at number five!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Weddings and PR Have in Common

By Amber Whiteside, Social Media Director

Yes, it is true, most women are obsessed with fantasizing about their wedding day. Pinterest has contributed to the hype for planning an “imaginary” wedding.  

However, my love for weddings is at a whole new level since deciding I want to involve wedding planning in my profession. As I currently plan my sister’s wedding, I am constantly reminded of basic public relations principles that can be applied to weddings:

1. Always listen to what the client wants. 
Suggestions have their place, but ultimately your job is to make your client happy. Make sure you listen to their needs. Discuss strategy with them and propose your own. It is important for them to be on board with everything you are about to produce and create.

2. Stay organized. 
Make to-do lists, put reminders in your phone, and always make sure to update your client on what you are working on.

3. Risk management. 
Event planners are considered risk managers in a sense, but it is important for public relations practitioners as well. Be ready for a disaster at any moment. It is better to prevent chaos, than to deal with the aftermath.

4. Utilize social media and mobile apps. 
With social media becoming increasingly popular, there are new ways to enhance your client’s presence on the web. Do some research and find out what apps and social media might benefit your client. This applies for wedding planning too. The new app, Wedding Party, directly uploads your guests’ photos to one collaborative Facebook album.

So yes, I may spend most of my time browsing through wedding blogs and magazines and tearing up while I watch wedding videos, but I am also helping myself get that much closer to reaching my dreams.

Think about your hobbies and interests. Don’t all experiences help you learn? The answer is yes. So pay close attention, there are PR lessons in our everyday lives that we may not fully understand from just learning them in the classroom.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Where Will Textbooks Take Us Next?

By Shelby Hudak, Account Executive

I can remember just three years ago when I was purchasing my textbooks for my first semester at college. And now, just three years later, it fascinates me how buying textbooks has changed.

Back in 2009, my freshman year,  I wasn’t even aware textbooks were available to rent online. I remember the A.S. bookstore being jam-packed with students and the “TextLink” pick-up line being extremely long. 

My second semester of freshman year I overheard people talking about a book rental site called Chegg, but I was not convinced enough to try it.

Now as a senior, I look back on my freshman year and tell myself how crazy I was for spending $100 on a textbook from the bookstore, when I could have rented it for $30 or $40 at an online book rental site such as or

In my opinion, renting textbooks online is the most popular way students are getting their textbooks. I don’t think this will be the case forever, or even in the next five to 10 years. I believe there will be another huge shift in the textbook industry and students’ buying habits will shift to e-books. 

Forbes says students are in no hurry to follow the e-book trend. My prediction, however, is that textbook publishing companies will adapt and create e-books that students actually want to use, and the industry of e-books will flourish. 

We live in an exciting and evolving world that makes me eager about what technology will bring for future textbooks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Avoid Becoming a Boomerang Kid

By Stephanie Burke, Social Media Assistant and Account Executive

Recently, many of my friends have graduated and none of them are completely thrilled about it. When they come back to visit their friends still attending school, they say things like “Don’t leave Chico, stay here as long as you can!” 

My personal opinion about why they aren’t happy is because they are currently sleeping at their parent’s house in their old twin-size bed. No one wants to go from complete freedom to checking in with your parents before you leave the house. So why go back? Before you graduate, take some time to figure out how you can get a job and move into an apartment right after graduation. Here are some helpful tips to make it happen.

1. Make a Plan

Write down your goals. David Kohl, a professor at Virginia Tech University, says people who write down their goals on a regular basis can earn nine times more in their lifetime than people who don’t. Include in these goals where you would like to live, what job you would like to have, and what company you would like to work for. Writing down goals will help you realize what’s important to you in life and how you must allocate your time and money in order to succeed.

2. Internships, Internships, Internships

Not only do internships give you experience, but they also expand your network. Jeff McGuire of says, “In today’s competitive job market it’s not just what you know, it’s what you know and who you know that often makes the difference.” Having quality internships will help you get that dream job much faster.

3. Avoid Debt and Save Money

If you know you won’t be responsible with a credit card, don’t get one. Unfortunately, many college students already come out of college with a large amount of debt because of high tuition, living expenses, etc. Save money any way you can. Make coffee at home, eat out only when you’re celebrating special occasions, and if you can, get a part-time job. 

4. Calculate How Much You Owe for Student Loans

Like stated before, many students have student loans, but also aren’t quite sure how much it’s going to cost them to pay the money back. Figure it out now before you graduate so you know what type of expense you’re in for. 

And finally, the most important thing to remember as a student is, it’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall, the Best Season of All

By Mandie Niklowitz, Online Communications Director

It may be 95 degrees outside right now, but in a few weeks the weather will cool off, the leaves will start to change, and it will be my favorite season of all, fall!

Chico is beautiful in the fall. The city transforms as the trees become bright with red, orange and yellow leaves. The temperature finally drops and walking to class no longer feels like crossing the Sahara Desert. I can’t wait to wear leggings, a baggy sweater and a scarf to class everyday. It’s not just comfortable, but it’s cute too.

I can only think of one thing that makes crunching through the leaves on the walk to class better; a Pumpkin Spice Latte in a red holiday cup from Starbucks. It might sound cheesy, but there’s something about those red cups that make you feel cozy and at home.

If you’re a broke college student like me, trying to get your fix of Pumpkin Spice Lattes before the seasons change can get expensive. But now thanks to Pinterest, this has all changed. After seeing a recipe for a homemade Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, I got curious and began searching for a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe.

The easiest recipe I found comes from the blog Confections of a Foodie Bride. Her recipe was very simple and didn’t require a fancy coffee machine. The final product was delicious, even if it wasn’t exactly like the one from Starbucks.

The latte took me about 30 minutes to make, which would be impossible during my rushed mornings. But I found if you double or triple the recipe, there’s enough to reheat and drink later.

Right now it feels like the temperature will never drop below 90 degrees, but believe it or not fall is just around the corner. So get your coffee pot ready, and keep an eye out for red holiday cups!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


By Colby Smith, PR Director

Heartache, sadness, frustration. 

These are the emotions that flowed through my veins when I opened up the Chico Enterprise-Record article confirming Brett Olson’s death. 

The 20-year-old Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student had been missing since Sunday Sept. 2. He was last seen midafternoon at Beer Can Beach among the thousands of people who participated in the Labor Day float. His body was discovered a week later, Sept. 9, by fishermen downstream of Beer Can Beach.

All week people were posting to a Facebook group titled “Let’s Bring Brett Home”. Posts on the site included possible sightings of Brett, organized search parties of students and volunteers, and shared tweets from celebrities on Twitter using the hashtag  #findbrettolson. His brother and parents even posted on the page, thanking the Facebook community for all its support. 

It was a jaw-dropping experience to see people all over the nation come together on Facebook to do everything humanly possible to find him. The group reached 90,000 members in only five days, a perfect example of how powerful social media can be. 
It warmed my soul to see the Chico community respond to Brett’s disappearance with warmth, hope and action.

But for some reason, I feel personally responsible as a Chico State student. I feel like I should have prevented this from happening somehow. Even though I am not a float participant or advocate, I feel guilty. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have personally done anything differently to prevent this tragedy. 

Chico State President Paul Zingg sent an email to students explaining that last year a bill was proposed to ban alcohol on the river for summer holidays, but was not passed by the needed four-fifths vote. He said that he believes this law should be looked at again, and I agree. 

A lot of people are blaming this tragedy on the fact Brett was not from Chico, implying visitors can’t handle Chico and so on. But what it comes down to, is that this could have happened to anyone on the river that day. Brett could have just as easily been your classmate, your friend, or your sibling.

Speaking from experience, it’s a horrible, deep, gut-wrenching, unfair, dark and indescribable feeling when a friend dies.  Now is the time to take action to protect our friends. 

Thousands of people, a strong river current, and alcohol have proven to be a fatal combination. We should do everything we can to ban alcohol from the river on Labor Day weekend to prevent a catastrophe like this from ever happening again. 

My heart goes out to friends and family of Brett Olson. Chico will forever be sending love your way. 

Video: Candlelight Vigil held in Brett’s hometown, Lafayette, CA 
Twitter: #rememberbrettolson

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Impressions

By Gregory Bloom, General Manager

Hello everyone and welcome back to a brand new semester. I hope the summer was either as action packed or uneventful as you desired.

Whatever the warm summer months might have brought you, a new school year is upon us as well as an opportunity to step up your game as a professional.

Whether you are a public relations student or a graduate taking your first step into the professional world, here are some important tips to keep in mind when meeting business clients for the first time.

Not to sound uptight, but first impressions mean everything in this business. Do your best to make the most positive first impression possible by dressing like a professional. For men, this means IRONED khakis, a button-up shirt, dress shoes, a good haircut and either be clean-shaven or have a well-trimmed beard. A sloppy appearance will make it difficult for a client to respect your abilities. If you can’t make yourself look good, how are you going to make your client look good? According to this survey conducted by, good looking bosses are considered more competent than their less attractive colleagues. Shallow? Maybe. But why shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to respect in the office?

-It’s about your client, not necessarily you.
Remember this might be the first time your client has worked with a public relations team before. Make sure you get them comfortable communicating their needs with you.  Creating good rapport with your client will help you down the road when things get hectic. This article from lists some great ways to instantly create relationships with people you meet.

-Create a working relationship with your team
After meeting your client, discuss with your team how each team member will contribute. Be clear on each team member's expectations and hold each other accountable.

With these tips in mind, your efforts to create a working relationship with your client will come easier.

You might well remember that nothing can bring you success but yourself.” – Napoleon Hill.