In October 2004, I agreed to become a part-time lecturer on the public relations degree course at Bournemouth University.
Within a couple of weeks I stood in front of a class of fresh-faced 2nd year students (there has to be a more interesting collective noun than that) aiming to introduce them to the joys of studying Public Opinion and Persuasion.
Back then, one of the goals on my CIPR continuous professional development plan was to overcome my dislike of “stand and deliver” teaching. So I’d thought that facing a 60-strong herd of 19-year-old students (is that any better?) would be a suitable deep-end from which to throw myself.
Of course, the IT system wouldn’t work and I busked the first lecture aiming to get the sympathy vote. Over the early Winter morning seminars and hung-over Monday lunchtime lectures (that’s them, not me), I thought we both learned quite a lot and I really enjoyed getting to know them. (Actually with their fondness for Heat magazine, and only 7 blokes, maybe a gossip of PR students is most appropriate.)
A number went onto placements in motor industry PR where I got to know them further and then I’ve been a supervisor and marker for some fascinating dissertations over the past 6 months.
So I was delighted to be asked to attend the PR graduating class of 2007’s leaving drinks-do in Bournemouth yesterday evening. It is 25 years since my graduation – and I’d forgotten what an important step this is.
After 4 years studying and practising public relations, they are now fledglings ready to leave the nest. They seemed much more grown-up than when I first met them and I know they have the potential for great careers ahead of them.
Several are “fans” of my blog (I know because they referred to my recent various rantings) and I look forward to hearing about their progress in the profession directly, through the pages of PR Week and as they become new media stars (thanks to the innovative teaching they’ve experienced this year from David Phillips).
I think there has never been a more exciting time to begin a career in public relations – there are amazing opportunities out there and a chance to make a real difference to the future direction of this profession.
At times they inadvertently made me feel very old, but I loved their different perspectives on the world. I wish you all the best – and you know where to find me.