[By Schintelle Harte]

It’s hard to believe that we’re close to the end of our eight-month journey as Sheridan PRCC students. During fall semester, it seemed that holiday break couldn’t come quick enough. After three weeks of sheer bliss and Netflix, we said hello to winter semester, and in the blink of an eye 14 weeks have nearly passed us by.

Here are key takeaways from the courses we took during winter semester:

Social Media Technology for PR
Writing and storytelling is at the heart of traditional PR. As the industry continues to evolve, there has been a strong push toward social media and technology. From learning how to navigate WordPress to camera techniques and video editing, we are ready to show off our digital chops to future employers.

Internal Communications
Understanding who your audience is and how to effectively reach them is crucial. What does that mean for us as communicators? It means listening and being in tune with organizational expectations.

Issues and Crisis Management
How an organization effectively manages a crisis can make or break them. We learned that in a crisis, you must be prepared with the right spokespeople and key messages. Important aspects to consider include accountability, sincerity and perception.

Strategic Communications Planning
Effective communication is all about strategy. This semester, we worked with clients in the community to identify their needs through research and data analysis, and provide them with long-term strategic communications plans. Goals, objectives, strategies and tactics – how could we ever forget?

Writing for Public Relations 2
This semester we continued to learn how to create good copy. From writing and editing content for the web, Op-Eds, how to stories, speeches and feature stories, we’ve totally mastered our ABCs: accuracy, brevity and clarity.

Special Events Planning
This semester Sheridan PRCC students organized two events from start to finish. The first was an alumni panel discussion about launching your PR career in the digital age and the second delved into journalism and fake news with a panel discussion called Facts, Fiction and Fake News featuring industry experts.

Public Relations and Philanthropy
PR and communications is all about creativity. This is particularly true in the non-profit sector where it’s not uncommon to have limited resources. As communicators, we must effectively understand how to leverage each element of communications in a way that adds value to an organization and its cause.

As our post-graduate journey comes to an end, many of us will soon start our internships, eager to apply the valuable skills we’ve learned this year.

Watch out, PR world; here comes the class of 2017!

(Photo by Tara Anderson)