A Planner with No Plan

By Talia Surbrook, Account Coordinator

I am the type of person who needs a plan; it truly brings me the greatest sense of comfort. Whether it be color coordinating each hour of my day in a planner or figuring out a trip’s itinerary three months ahead, I love to plan it. High school was no exception. As I joined clubs, took AP classes and met with counselors, each action was a step in my plan: college.

My college plan went perfectly. I committed to the University of Oregon and was ready to start my journey. However, I found myself sitting in my dorm room with a daunting thought — “Now what?” I had no clue what I wanted to do.

Talia Surbrook in Oregon Duck gear

I came up with three requirements for my major. First, I wanted a career that was stable but did not consist of the same tasks each day. Second, I wanted to work in an industry that was driven by new ideas. Third, I wanted a job where I felt I was making people’s lives easier.

I began with business but quickly discovered I was not mathematically gifted. I considered international issues and loved the introductory course only to be utterly confused trying to grasp the theories in the second. I even considered transferring to a nursing program but didn’t love the idea of working night shifts.

By the middle of my sophomore year, I felt like a failure. I was no closer to figuring out my plan. Feeling like I had exhausted all my options, I enrolled in a journalism class. I was hesitant at first because to me, journalism sounded like reporters or editors writing daily newsletters and articles, which was not appealing to me. However, as I walked out of the first week of class, I felt a calmness that I had not felt in a while. I knew my major, and I was excited.

Joining the School of Journalism and Communication’s public relations program at the University of Oregon was by far my best decision in college. I quickly fell in love with the industry. This career met each one of my goals and then some, and each course provided me with new skills and ideas, which nurtured my excitement of joining the workforce.

One of the most attractive things about public relations was the variety of industries I could work in from fashion to sports. For me, I had always been interested in how technology continues to grow and become part of our day-to-day lives and wanted to not only be a part of the discussion but also to have a role in communicating the industry to consumers. However, I personally was not well-versed in the technology industry.

The Hoffman Agency’s internship program has made me confident in my public relations skills and furthered my love for the industry. Working with a variety of technology clients, I have learned that you do not need to be a tech-wiz off the bat. Each meeting and task are opportunities to learn more about the field and understand their communication needs.

As someone who enjoys knowing what to do, asking questions is not something I enjoyed. Since my first day with Hoffman, I have felt a huge amount of support from my mentors. Each member welcomes my questions and has taught me it is okay to not understand everything at first. My tasks are not only meant to help our clients/team but are also an opportunity for me to learn.

Most importantly, I’ve realized having a plan is great, but it’s okay to take your time until you are happy with the results.

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