“What did you learn in school today?” Ah, that dreaded question from mom and dad every day when we came home from school years ago.
If you’re like me, your answer was almost always an elaborative, “nothing.” Only years later did we realize we were actually learning valuable lessons in those hours of school that felt like we were learning nothing.
In college, it’s a little different. We can definitely tell we aren’t just going to class and learning “nothing.” During our time in the Manship School of Mass Communication, we take a lot of classes that are designed to teach us valuable skills and tools to use in our years as professionals. The Manship School focuses on creating courses that let us put what we are being taught into practice. We are encouraged to dip our toes into the real world and we’ve had countless classes that assign work involving real clients and we are even given class credit for qualifying internships. Senior public relations students take a final capstone course that groups students together to form their own agencies to work with local clients.
As part of the five-person team participating in the Bateman Competition, we got to put our knowledge from school to the test. We used every skill we have learned from courses in media research, law, design, and writing throughout our campaign. It gave us confidence to know that we have what it takes to not only carry out a campaign, but we have the ability to do it well.
As the Bateman Team, we executed a campaign for our client that included primary research, market analysis, audience segmentation, message creation, social media implementation, events, presentations and extensive media coverage. It’s incredible to think that in just four weeks of implementing our campaign we increased usage of our client’s product by 50%.
The most important skill I think the Manship School teaches its students is to never be afraid to attempt to figure out something yourself. We’ve learned to be brave and take initiative. As one of our Bateman Team members, Emily Beck says, “the word ‘can’t’ should not be part of our vocabulary.” We know that when we’re faced with a task that we have no experience with, we can always give it a try and if we can’t figure it out, we can ask for help. We’ve learned to be confident enough in ourselves to know that we have the ability to do things we’ve never done before.
Now when we go home and our parents ask us, “what did you learn in school?” we are well equipped to show and tell them that we know how to solve problems ourselves and think independently while still being unafraid to ask for guidance when we need it.