Advice for first year PR students

This is an article by Bart Misiak.
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Bart Misiak

Bart Misiak

Having lived in Canada, I was always exposed to a mosaic of different cultures.

This experience opened my eyes to how important effective communication is in everyday life and I quickly became fascinated with it.  Additionally, a lot of the people I looked up to were confident speakers and presenters.

Unfortunately, the thought of public speaking terrified me which consequently had a major impact on my life. Sometimes I would even skip classes so I would not have to present in front of everyone.

However, one day in my freshman year I decided to face my fear and I registered for a public speaking class.  I hate being scared of doing something, so taking this class was the only logical choice.

I had a rocky start in my first speech but with practice I got better and better as the semester went on.  Surprisingly, I got a B in the class and developed a new passion for communication.

In 2012, I graduated from Plattsburgh State University (United States) with a B.A. in Public Relations/Advertising and I am a semester away from completing my MSc. in Corporate Communication & Public Affairs at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Based on my experience, I would like to pass on my best advice to students pursuing a PR degree which I wish I had received prior to my first year of university. So here we go!

5 Tips for successfully getting your PR degree

1. Get Involved!

I strongly encourage every student to get involved very early on in any clubs, trips, events, and volunteer opportunities within the university that deal with PR. Not only will you make new friends but it will help you gain experience and additional knowledge. Furthermore, it will give you a chance to network with people who are already working in this field.

2. Be organized, write things down!

It is ridiculous to try and remember everything we have to do in a day or even a week. By writing things down I avoided missing assignment deadlines or important meetings. If you do this, you will give yourself a better chance of succeeding in your studies.

3. Surround yourself with the right people!

Essentially, you want to create the best environment for yourself to succeed in. I quickly noticed that the students which were failing classes associated themselves with people in a similar situation and the students that did well were hanging out with likeminded people. Perhaps, this is a harsh piece of advice but it is true.

4. Attend Class!

If you don’t go to class, how do you expect to learn? At the beginning of the semester, every professor preaches that attendance has a direct effect on how well a student does in the class. I hate to admit it but they are right.

5.  Summer = Party Time? Wrong.

One of my biggest mistakes was that I adapted the mentality that summer time meant vacation time. While I was playing sports, travelling and lounging around the house, the proactive students were doing internships in PR firms.  Most internships last only a few weeks so you will still have time to enjoy your summer. Don’t waste time, do the internship and enhance your CV.

I hope you find these tips useful in your educational journey. Remember, most of the time we are the ones who stand in our own way of success. Keep that in mind and good luck to everyone in your studies!


  1. Gurtej Dhillon says:

    Hey Bart, great article buddy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how you developed a passion for public speaking. I am actually proud of you because in our first year at Plattsburgh, it was known throughout the soccer team that you didn’t fancy conversating with others. However, your confidence and public speaking ability increased tremendously as our sophomore, junior and senior years came along. Once again, great article lad.

  2. Pete Finnegan says:

    I really liked this article but the one thing I would say is that the summer is there to be enjoyed as a student. We have enough free time during the semester to go and get internships and long enough Christmas and Easter breaks. We are only young once so enjoy the summer whilst you can. Other than that a good article and a good read.

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