How Playing a Sport in College Provided Me with Skills for a PR Career

Photo by Jillian Peart

By: Emma McDermott

I moved to Chico, CA to attend college as a first-year. I was ready to start fresh and fully embrace this new chapter of my life. As an undeclared student with lots of time on my hands, I decided I was going to make the most of my four years at this university. 

Countless friends of mine had told me to get involved with some type of club. Through a series of events, I now consider a path of fate, I met many people who suggested joining the rowing team. Now, three years later, I cannot picture my college story without this sport. 

As an upcoming public relations graduate, I can look back and see how being apart of the rowing team truly benefited my hard and soft skills regarding my future career in the field of PR. 

Here are some things that I learned from my passion, for my career

1. It shows substance.

Many employers are looking to hire those with something listed on their resume besides the usual class load. Any college sport can help you secure a job by showing you can achieve something outside of the normal realm of university classes. Doors open as soon as a possible employer can see you fully committed to something as an extracurricular, it only opens doors for you. 

2. Rowing let me experience building relationships with all types of people.

The rowing team is known to fluctuate each season, as the roster changes often. This ultimately means you meet all types of new people consistently each season. In this sport, you are put into a boat with several other athletes where you all have to learn to come together as one to reach a common goal of racing together smoothly. You are literally all in the same boat. Similarly in PR, you are constantly working with different clients and coworkers. You must be able to navigate different working or leadership styles on a daily basis. I have had ample experience maneuvering different social situations in tense racing environments. This can translate positively toward the workplace because you never know who you’ll be working with. These past experiences have made me a people-person who can adapt quickly and work toward an objective with all types of personalities.

3. At a vital time in my life, rowing taught me discipline and responsibility.

In college, many students are trying to figure out a routine that keeps them on the right path, without taking away all of their free time they for their personal passions taht form their identity. Personally, I had to balance school, social life and work during my time at college. Rowing was something that is classified as an extracurricular, but, I was dedicated to it. Early mornings and tough workouts helped me learn that it was possible to stay disciplined and passionate about something while maintaining a healthy life outside of it. It introduced me to was time management as a vital life skill during my early years of college. This is something that every PR professional must learn to master. It will help when they are busy working on multiple accounts and tending to several clients’ needs. 

4. PR and rowing both involve setting goals and following things through.

During the spring of my junior year, my boat worked hard enough to qualify for national club championships. If you had told me at the beginning of that season that I would be traveling across the country to compete on that level, I would have never believed you. However, with my whole team training together daily while striving to be better rowers, we achieved great things. We made the dream of competing nationally a reality and followed through with our hard work. PR professionals can relate. Sometimes with a client, you do not know how your team can pull off its mission. Some days in public relations jobs, the proposed objective may seem out of sight and you may even be stuck creatively; it may seem bleak. If you keep the passion, creativity and discipline in your journey, the end goal can be virtuous, whether in public relations or a sports team.

“If you keep the passion, creativity and discipline in your journey, the end goal can be virtuous.”

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