On Friday, Nov. 13, a group of 18 Millersville students traveled to Harrisburg to take part in an event titled, “Meet the Press”. Students visited both the Capitol Building, including the Capitol Media Center, and PASSHE’s Dixon University Center, hearing from speakers in the fields of journalism, public relations, communications and politics who hold positions on the caliber of ABC 27 and Fox 43 news anchors, a Pittsburg Post-Gazette reporter, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Press Secretary and various PASSHE Public Affairs Staff.
While topics of discussion ranged the spectrum, one universally stressed piece of advice by the speakers at this one-day event was to gain experience, to both discover whether or not one’s current career plan will culminate in a fitting profession and to gain marketable skills for that profession. Reporter Karen Langley encouraged students to dive into the opportunities one’s campus offers, whether that be through the student newspaper, such as Millersville University’s the Snapper, or other outlets, contending that the act of doing will aid in preparation for the future by actually applying concepts learned in the classroom.
Alicia Brumbach, Director of Communications and Social Media, took a similar stance, remarking upon the benefits of self-taught skills that will become readily applicable in the workplace. Speakers explained that only through throwing oneself into circumstances that facilitate practice in these experience-oriented fields, such as through school publications, internships or part-time work, could individuals truly discover a career compatible with their personalities and skills, and thus work to prepare for such a career.
Each professional at the event expressed interesting and informative accounts detailing his or her own unique course to discovering a personal satisfying, albeit challenging, career. Kenn Marshall and Barry Ciccocioppo began their careers as journalists before transitioning into communications. Matt Maisel and Dennis Owens started out as sports reporters before finding their niche as news anchors at these respective stations.
Brumbach, Langley and others touched on their efforts at working their way up, to bigger, better and more suitable positions. Many of these individuals, including Press Secretary Jeff Sheridan, got their foot in the door of this highly contested industry through internships, providing a start upon which each took advantage. While greatly differing in their journeys, all the persons sharing at the event expressed a love for their occupations, and how that love was only realized through varied experiences.
In determining where one’s passions lie, the speakers bluntly admitted that failure may be inevitable, but, as Maisel of Fox 43 news referenced Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take”. Relating to the undertaking of college students searching for shadowing opportunities, internships and jobs, these qualified individuals suggested persistent effort, striving to achieve one’s goals while relinquishing fear of inadequacy.
Langley and others mentioned college as being the perfect climate to explore interests and risk failure due to the bevy of opportunities and minor side effects of potential missteps. And perhaps this trip, “Meet the Press”, was an exemplar of such opportunities, a beneficial step in the direction of gaining experience and knowledge that will assist students as they attempt to propel themselves into the work force. While these nuggets of wisdom were directed toward journalism, public relations, political science and other related majors students, an individual in any discipline could apply this advice to his or her career journey.