Incomparable benefits of a PR internship in International Education

Students at the Office of International Education and Services during the Geocaching at Southeast event.

Students at the Office of International Education and Services during the Geocaching at Southeast event in August 2014.

The fact that the U.S. will become a majority-minority country in 2043 is not news now. How do you prepare to work with such a diverse and multicultural population?

Some tactics that one can think of are traveling, learning other languages, study abroad, reading articles and research, keeping up with news, etc.
This summer I discovered another way of learning about different cultures: working at the Office of International Education and Services at my university, Southeast Missouri State University.
If you are looking for a local internship, you could look at your international office or whichever office designation is equivalent. Why? Because besides putting into practice and expanding your PR, design, marketing and management skills, you also meet and interact with students from other countries.
We learn best by doing. The best way to gain experience in multicultural PR is by exposing yourself to those who are and think different from you. You will be able to pick up on cultural cues, hone those negotiation skills with multicultural audiences and most importantly, learn from people with different backgrounds just by having an informal conversation about what they watched on TV or cooked last night.
Three important takeaways from this experience:
1) Current events DO matter
If you are doing a flyer with all the country flags or cultures represented by your office/institution, you should take into account what is occurring in the rest of the world. For instance, it may not be a smart idea to place the flags of two countries which are at war against each other side-by-side.
2) You don’t need to speak a person’s native language to communicate
During the first month at the Office, Google helped me to talk with a French student on the phone.
First, I should note that knowing Spanish and having been exposed to French for some short periods of time did help me understand what the student said. However, I did not remember much about the vocabulary I needed to use to communicate my response and address the student’s concern. As an immediate aid, I resorted to Google Translate. The translator worked perfectly, I read the phrases and carried on with the discussion without any issues.
Note: Don’t assume Google translate will translate everything perfectly because most often, it does not. But for the basics, it’s a good tool to resort to when you need immediate help.
This example shows that you don’t need to be a fluent speaker to get a grasp of what the other person is saying and if the person is in front of you, getting a message across is even easier to do because you can resort to other forms of non-verbal communication.
Don’t get frustrated because you can’t “understand” what the other person is saying due to a language or accent barrier. English has some overlaps with Latin. Therefore, you may be able to understand key words in a conversation in any language derived from Latin (Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian, Romanian, etc.) if you pay close attention and truly LISTEN.
When it comes to Japanese or Chinese, I’m not sure overlaps will be easy to find – but there are some. Once your ear gets used to listening a conversation in Chinese, you may be able to pick up certain phrases and cues. But if verbal communication still doesn’t work and there’s no in-house translator nor internet access to translate words, you can resort to mimicry, facial expressions and body language.
The more you are exposed to another culture and hearing different language-speakers interact, the easier it will be for you to understand, at least, the overall idea of what they are trying to convey. Identify the barriers of communication and overcome them. See Sage article “Barriers to Intercultural Communication” for examples. 
3) NEVER assume anything
Just because someone is from a specific country does not mean they behave in a certain way or think in a certain way. Not all Chinese students are good at math and sciences, not all Muslims are terrorists, not all students from South America have darker skin tones, not all Germans drink beer and not all international students want to permanently move to and work in the United States.
You can research cultural differences and traits for a specific country and that will surely help you understand generalizations (see links suggested at the end of this blog). However, just like people from the United States are sometimes stereotyped for eating unhealthy food does not mean you do not take care of your own health.
If you have doubts about what is or could be offensive, just ask the person in a POLITE manner. From what I have experienced, people are very receptive when it comes to questions about aspects of their culture and they like sharing what they know and believe with someone who truly wants to learn.
I would rather ask if something would be offensive, than actually assume something I don’t know. At the same time, don’t assume that what is offensive/non-offensive to someone from a specific country will also be perceived in the same way by someone else from that same culture.
Bottom line is: working in a diverse office, in this case with international students, can be an eye-opening experience for you as long as you are open to it. There’s no better way to learn from other cultures than working with the people who bring their values and experiences with them and who live in your  own “back-yard.”
If you have an office that works with international students, reach out. Get involved and interact.
Even if there isn’t one, look for events supporting diversity initiatives and have a five-minute chat with that student in your literature class who you know is from another country or region and whose accent you may not fully comprehend.
After all, we are humans and being born on another side of a continent or river only defines us up to a certain point. The rest of what you need to discover has to do with our natural human condition. Working first-hand with international students will help you take that first step in understanding how different but similar cultures are.
How have YOU expanded your multicultural skills? Share your experiences below!
The following are resources you can look at for comparisons, exercises and research.

What the Great Washington Bridge closure reflected about Christie’s Administration

The content of this post originally appeared in a blog post on Ruder Finn’s Ethics blog.

I read Ruder Finn’s senior vice president Emmanuel Tchividjian’s blog post on corporate culture and what type of culture the Christie Administration portrayed with the closure of the traffic lanes of the George Washington Bridge. Before diving in the reflection, let’s see what happened.

Tchividjian summarizes the situation very clearly:

“In early September last year, in an apparent act of vengeance against the Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, for not endorsing the Governor for re-election, Bridget Ann Kelly, Governor Christie’s deputy Chief of Staff orchestrated a fictitious “traffic study” with the complicity of Port Authority officials in order to close two lanes on the GWB,” Tchividjian wrote. “The closing of the two lanes provoked the intended gridlock that lasted for days. The purpose was to provoke commuters to anger that would be directed against the Mayor of Ft. Lee.”

Jack Marshall, author of the Ethics Alarm blog, also wrote about it and discussed the ethical issues surrounding Bridget Ann Kelly’s insubordination and skewed decision and Governor Christie’s public apology in a blog post.

Now that you know what happened, I thought I’d share my “reading” on the situation.

“Whether or not Chris Christie personally ordered the vindictive closing, the fact that close aides and subordinates under his leadership thought that it was appropriate to do so demonstrates serious flaws in the ethical culture of the Christie administration,” Marshall wrote.

And I agree. 

I think Jack Marshall’s article is spot on just like Tchividjian’s. 

Whenever there is someone doing something unethical or illegal, just about anything that would jeopardize people, the reputation of a company, etc., I always think of the president/director of that company and HR.

We make mistakes and learn from them, including people in HR, but when a thing like this happens, when it’s not a mistake but a malicious action, I ask myself the following questions:

– What was that person (HR/CEO) thinking when he/she hired the employee?
– Did the hiring person ask the right questions?
– Did HR/hiring person research properly the candidate?
– Was the screening mediocre or properly done?
– Did the candidate misrepresent herself/himself or lie?
– Were there a lot of candidates or did they hire whoever was the least worse?
– What could have been done better to avoid the problem?

Of course a company/organization can be mislead by potential candidates but sometimes there are things that can be perceived simply by talking with someone for a while and asking the right questions.

I don’t think we can put all the blame on the HR manager for the administration’s mistakes because HR can’t control every single employee’s actions, moves, emails, etc. but I do think they share fault because if the hiring was done right in the first place, then maybe Bridget Ann Kelly wouldn’t have caused such problems. But I see this also being tied to the company’s leader and culture, not just HR.

A leader sets the example. A CEO is a leader. Governor Christie is a leader and he sets the example. Apparently he set the record straight with the press and said he fired his Deputy Chief of Staff (if that’s true or not that’s another story), so I’d say it was a good move. But if people have such liberty in that office as it appears, then how does he not know there’s someone else doing something similar behind his back? How does he know if current employees also believe they can do such things and get away with it in the future? If his administration’s culture portrays/encourages/implies unethical behavior, then he has quite a challenge to face now: change how people see him in the office and change a culture which he had been fostering before the GWB incident happened. We’ll see what happens.

If you want to find out about what employees think about their company’s CEO/President, visit

PS: If you are interested in ethics (not limited to PR), I would highly recommend you to follow Ruder Finn’s Ethics Blog and Jack Marshall’s Ethics Alarms Blog.

Pitching and building your media contacts list

Someone posted a new discussion topic in PRSSA’s LinkedIn group. The question was:


How does a young PR professional actually build her network of media contacts?

The contributor said:

The question isn’t a matter of finding out who they are (I read the papers everyday, I found a decent amount of them online and on twitter, etc) but how do I start a real business relationship with them. Online I’ve had moderate success – I can chat with them occassionally (if they’re actually tweeting and not autoposting from the newspaper’s website) about their articles, and sometimes they’ll respond to something I say. But any time I’ve tried to move the relationship to email or over coffee or a business event, I get no response.

Is there somewhere I can be meeting them in person? What kind of approach would they like from a PR professional representing individuals in the finance sector?

I’ve wondered this question myself because students don’t usually build a contact list as a class assignment, at least I didn’t, so I thought since I’m both in PR and an editor for the student-run newspaper, I could give a different perspective.

In my case, since I’m in a student-run paper, we take things a little  lighter than with a regular newspaper. As a manager, I have journalism students that pitch to me every week as part of their capstone class so I get to critique them and help them pitch better or guide them with what I think will be best for the paper. I have pitched stories to prominent newspapers and those pitches have been accepted so I guess I could say I’m on the right track.

This will sound very silly, but I want to read KISS pitches (Keep It Simple, Stupid). I look for 5 Ws and H: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I guess the part that gets tricky for most is the Why. There are a few things I look for in pitches on the why.
1-    Think like a journalist.

If you put yourself in the reader’s shoes (which may be hard), what would make this topic/idea/story worth your time reading? And once you get to a solid idea, check again- would I read this story if I wasn’t in journalism/PR/etc.? Would you actually pick up a paper or visit the website, click on that headline and read the whole thing? If not, you need to see why and start again. It’s easy to get carried away when you are pitching for a client because you truly believe in a client or the product, but you need to be able to be objective, because that’s what the journalist will do (or at least, strive for).

2-   Think of the audience.

Will the average reader for that newspaper read that type of story? What will attract that type of reader? You can tell by the tone, format, style, type of stories, even photos or multimedia elements, design, what type of audience the paper is intending to reach.

3-   Revise and edit as needed.

No grammar, spelling, syntax, semantics or ACCURACY errors. If I notice any of these, I will partially shut you off. If the mistakes are really bad, I may shut you off my brain completely. Why? Because I expect you to dedicate at least the time to check what you send me, when you are requesting me to spend time writing a story, editing it or reading it.

4-   Provide sources.

It’s not just “media contact” and your information. I look for 2 or 3 sources for that story. It has to be sources from different backgrounds, meaning that if you pitch a story about how your program is awesome or has better x,y,z features than something else, I want you to give me data or something that shows me that what you are saying is true. In a school setting, if you want to pitch to me about how a coach got fired and the school’s bad/good reaction, I will want sources for both the school and the person that got fired. I will seek to get both sides of any argument, story, idea, etc.

5-   Pitch to the right person.

Usually newspaper websites have directions as to who and how to pitch someone. If there are any, follow them. If there aren’t any, I would either email the managing editor and ask what the procedure is to contact reporters, or directly email/Tweet them. But you have to make sure that who you are messaging is the right person to pitch to. Again, do some research on the kind of stories the reporter you are pitching to writes or edits.

6-   Don’t try to sell me the pitch with puffery.

I appreciate honesty and straight-forwardness over all. Tell me who you are, what you are pitching and why. I can tell when people are trying to deceive me.

That’s what I can think of right now. I will try to find an example of what I think is a good pitch and maybe share it here.

As to how to contact people, it really depends on the person. Check on Twitter if the person is active and if he/she talks with others about stories on Tweets. If you don’t see anything, they may be talking on Direct Messages but since you can’t tell, I would check email or the visit Do NOT send friend request on Facebook. That’s very inappropriate unless specifically told to do so.

Try to visit websites and use tools that journalists use. The more you read things that we are likely to read, the more you understand how we think.

This post was originally published in a LinkedIn group discussion on Nov. 6.

My thoughts on the NYT’s decision on publishing Vladimir Putin’s op-ed

The content of this post was originally created as a response to an ethics blog post written by Emmanuel Tchividjian, senior vice president and ethics officer of Ruder Finn about the open editorial published by the New York Times, pitched by Ketchum and written by Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

As long as the article does not have anything that jeopardizes national security, incite imminent lawless actions, or all of the components in the legal test of clear and present danger, I don’t think the NYT would have to block the message. If there was content addressing these issues, if the NYT did not censor it, the government would anyway.

The content of this op-ed may not be what the President of the U.S. or U.S. citizens may want to hear, but censoring such kind of content would take us back to when people and newspapers did not have freedom of speech/press. In addition, the article ran in the op-ed section, not as an article written by someone in the NYT.

Hearing different views and having a place for them (marketplace of ideas) is what I think gives the so called “exceptional” quality to the U.S., and blocking messages because they simply differ from the general population or hurts someone’s feelings would be failing to honor the essence of this country. I am aware I am using to the word “exceptional” with a different meaning from what President Obama and the NYT address.

Whether Ketchum had to do with it or not does not really matter. It would matter to me (as a PR young professional) if Ketchum denied taking part in something when it actually did (regardless of the topic)- simply because it would not be honoring one of our PR values which is included in PRSA’s Code of Ethics: transparency. I don’t understand why there is so much “fuzz” about Ketchum’s involvement in this either. If Ketchum wants to have a client (wherever or whoever it is) and this client matches Ketchum’s code of ethics, culture and views, I don’t see why it should not work with that client.

I’ve looked Ruder Finn’s page but unfortunately I couldn’t find RFI’s Ethics Guideline. I would really like to read that one too.

These types of situations show why companies, agencies, and newspapers must think about ethics, prepare beforehand, and not wait until the issue arises. Ketchum knows what type of clients it wants to work with and the NYT knows what type of newspaper it wants to be. It is up to the company’s culture and its leaders to decide who they want to work with and publish, or not.

How can you learn about a company’s culture?

I originally commented on an Ethics blog post by Emmanuel Tchividjian, senior vice president and ethics officer of Ruder Finn, but I thought this content would be useful to all of you.

What is the best way to find out about a company’s culture when looking for a job/internship?

Besides the typical:

– Google articles

– Visit company’s website

– Talk to company’s employee

– Visit the company’s building/workspace

Ways that I can think of right now are:

– Examples of issues/events that have made the news (But what about those that haven’t made the top headlines?)

– Read reviews on sites like

– Types of interview questions and the interviewer’s answers to your questions.

– An acquaintance or friend that can recommend (or not) a company.

– How the company responds to customers’ issues.

– Indexes of organizations that assess different aspects of companies’ cultures – such as DiversityInc.

Can you think of other ways to get to know a company’s TRUE colors?

I do not think a company will say on their website that they disregard ethics or something of that nature.
And since every employee is an ambassador of a company/organization, I think the chances that they are 100% honest about their experience if they do not know you personally, are not very high.

What do you think?


Math and WordPress analytics. Who would have figured these were intertwined?

You started a blog. That’s great. But how do you know if you are doing well?


We hear it all the time: analytics. Whether it’s a blog, website, video, or anything, it’s usually not enough to record the number of views, but you need to see how those change in time. You need to identify trends, key elements/posts/images that you uploaded and that had a significant impact in the number of viewers.

I decided to check on my blog’s analytics and create a grid to track changes. I have been tracking my blog’s views for a while but did not get into deep data analysis until today. By the way, you shouldn’t choose a random day to do it. You should analyze your data in weeks, months, quarters, semesters or years- but always the same day, consistently. But you can work on constructing that grid on an Excel spreadsheet and decide how you will record the data.

Today let’s talk about WordPress.

WordPress has great analytics and you can easily access it in your account. If you go to the dashboard, you’ll see the “Stats” tab.  You should have a big graph across and modules about different aspects of data that you can look into and interpret.

So before getting into specifics, you should have some sort of statistics goal with your blog (duplicate readers in 2 months, get 2000 visitors in x amount of time, etc.). With that specific goal in mind, and thinking what kind of information would be useful to better reach or understand your audience, is how you’ll build a grid and keep track of your site’s stats.

In my case, I started my blog in January and I wanted to know a few things.

First, I wanted to know rough numbers (number of visitors and viewers so far, most viewed page, total comments, etc). I also wanted to know the percentage increase in visitors and views in a monthly interval.

Second, I wanted to know the correlation between a new post and the amount of visitors in the blog that day and that month.

Third, I wanted to know where my readers are from.

Forth, and possibly one of the most important objectives, I wanted to know how my readers landed on my blog.

So here you’ll see each objective broken down.


1)   Rough data + analysis

For the rough numbers, I just clicked on the module and expanded “Summaries” to read that data. For percentage increases and correlations, I had to do some math. I am not a mathematician but I must admit I am pretty good with numbers (after all, I was going to be a chemical engineer back in the day).

In statistics, we (hopefully) learned frequency and cumulative frequency. This table is just that. A frequency chart but with different headings!

So here is the grid I built. You can click the image to enlarge.

Analytics Grid imPRez

NOTE: To calculate the cumulative frequency (in my grid, TOTAL), you add the frequency (how often viewers visited the blog) in the first month and the frequency number of views of the second month.  The final number of the cumulative frequency should equal the amount of views you had in total (in my case, 2633).

As you can see, what you learned in statistics is used in your daily life. You just name it differently.


2) Correlation

Second, I wanted to know if there was any correlation between the amount of posts and the amount of viewers I had but since I have only 6 months to calculate, it was easier to identify trends. I saw that the most viewers I had, was when I published one post, and the least when I had 4 posts. This means that my blog does not have more viewers the more often I post- and that the content drives the traffic. Maybe there could be a negative correlation (when one increases, other decreases) but I’m not interested in calculating it (besides, it would get a little bit more complex in terms of math calculations) and I want to keep it simple.




3) Origins

To know where your visitors are from (countries), you can easily see a full map by clicking “Summaries” in the “View by Country” module.


4) Referrers


To know where your readers find out about your page, you go to “Stats” and click “Summaries” on the “Referrers” module. This shows the URLs of the places where the viewer clicked and visited your blog in different time intervals (week, month, year, until now). If you know that most referrals come Facebook, then you know that you need to actively publicize there. If you find out that syndicated blogs are your source of traffic, guest post on those blogs more often.

If your teacher had told you that you would use this in real life, and interpreting data would be a vital skill to have, would you have believed her?

If you have any questions about how to read analytics on WordPress or the meanings of frequency, cumulative frequency, etc., please write your questions below and I’ll try to answer them as easy and understandably as possible.


It’s summer- Now what?


Summertime is here and some PR students don’t know what to do with their lives. I’m one of them. But instead of playing Candy Crush on my iPod and sleeping all day, I got to work-literally and figuratively. I’m working at the mass media department the whole day so I don’t have time to do an internship- like a few of my PR friends that I know. I would do an internship if I could, believe me- the more experience the better. But instead, I found things to do that would still help me hone my PR skills and keep me on my toes.

What can you do? Here are some suggestions to get busy during the summer and to improve and maintain your brand.

1)      Update your social media profiles.

If you are in any student organization your term as officer probably ended, which means new titles, new positions, etc., so there’s content to update.


 2)      Update your website /portfolio.

If you have a website already, update it with your spring semester’s school or internship work. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to edit your site, summer is the time to do it. If you want to create your own site, you can use:,,

3)      Update/redesign business cards and resume.

If you ran out of business cards, order some more. If you’d like a new look to your brand, experiment with templates or design one yourself. Create a matching business card and resume. Get creative. If you need help, you can read my posts about resume building and business card designs. You can also see my website here to find inspiration.

4)      Engage in social media conversations.

A great way to maintain and expand your network is to participate in Twitter chats that are related to PR or any area that is of your interest. Click here to see all the Twitter chats available by date, time and topic.

Twitter is not the only platform. I found a Google+ Hangout by Edelman (top PR agency) and I tuned in. Out of randomness, I ran into a hangout about recruitment in Edelman which was super useful.

If you want to build your reputation on LinkedIn, follow the groups that you are interested in. See if there are any ongoing discussions and comment. If there are no topics that attract you, create one! If you don’t have an account, read the tips here to create one.

You can also participate in free/paid webinars. PRSA has several here and there are others that you can easily find if you Google it.

5)      Schedule social media posts.

Now that you have time to surf on the web, check out BuzzFeed, Reddit, Mashable, TheBeehooved, the newspapers, etc. You’ll find useful content to share and comment on so take advantage of the free time and schedule those posts to maintain a presence in your social media account.

6)      Contact professionals.

The academic year is crazy busy. You forgot to email/tweet people you met at a networking event or conference. You’ve been pushing to contact them back because it’s been so long. It may not be too late. Try to reconnect with them now that you have the time to do it.

7)      Research companies.

If you know what organization you’d like to work at, research it. Take this time to learn about the company, read their press releases, tweets, articles, watch videos, and so forth. If you don’t know the company you’d like to work at, research several places you think might be of your interest and try to find a common connection among your contacts.

8)      Start a new project.

If you are bored and want more samples for your portfolio, start a project. You don’t need an internship supervisor or your work boss to give you an assignment. Just create one!

9)      Compete.

There are multiple ongoing competitions and scholarships you can participate in (design, video, PR campaigns, etc.). This will build your resume, give you experience, hone your skills and maybe even get you a prize!

10)   Blog.

If you have a blog already, keep on posting. If you don’t have a blog, start one! You don’t necessarily need to blog about PR or communications. You can blog about anything. From venues, decorations, cakes, chocolate, road trips, to anything you find interesting. As long as you write about something you are passionate about, your skills will come through.

11)   Check out successful campaigns.

PRSA, IABC and PRWeek among other organizations have recently released their award winners. You can read about the Silver Anvil Awards winners and their campaigns here. It’s not a bad idea to read about the most successful campaigns when you will be planning one in real life soon (internship, class or after graduation).

12)   Sleep, rest and have fun.

Now it’ll seem that you have many things to do in a very short time. Use your time wisely, if you don’t do well without deadlines, set some. But don’t forget to sleep, rest and have fun! It’s summer after all.


What have you done this summer so far? Any plans or ideas to get busy? Please share them here!

How can PR benefit you even if that is not the field you are working in?

There are many skills you will learn and develop if you study PR: public speaking, designing, writing, time-management, listening, researching, strategic thinking, planning, mediation, persuasion, and any communication skills no matter what medium you use.


A doctor will need solid communication skills to effectively tell patients what they have or not have, advised them on what to do or not to do, and understand what their patients need. A doctor will have to be an active listener, besides being knowledgeable of the field.

A journalist will need researching, time management and listening skills. It’s common to see journalists write what they think one person said. You need to know how to listen to your editor’s assignment, and listen to whoever you interview. Also, the better you understand how a PR person thinks, the better your chances are of getting “juicy” information out of your news-generators.


Knowing how to manage your time effectively as a parent will let you eat, sleep and hopefully work, while you take care of a newborn. Thinking strategically in this case is thinking about your kid’s life and future, thinking what the best options are to achieve specific goals. Strong communication skills (especially listening), will foster a more open and honest relationship with your child, and let you understand his/her needs better. Lastly, mediating skills will come in handy if your child tries to negotiate punishment or where to eat, or argue whose task it was to get the trash out.


Lightbulb_Business1_imageA business owner will need all the organizational and managerial skills that a PR career provides. Planning and thinking strategically will be helpful when it comes to creating a business plan, organizing ideas and how to put them into practice, how to grow your business and so forth. Lastly, it will be vital to understand the importance of building relationships with your clients and listen to what they have to say.



No matter what you do, where you work or who you are, knowing how to speak WITH people (not TO people), is paramount. You “do” PR every day without even realizing it! From the moment you say ‘good morning’, send an email, Tweet or make a phone call to a client, to making new friends at school or interviewing for a summer job.

I <3 PR

Learning how to act ethically will distinguish you and keep you out of trouble anywhere you work. Communicating effectively is crucial no matter whom or why you communicate with someone- whether it’s visually or with words, through traditional or social media. If the message is clear and concise, the person(s) you talk to will understand you.  So get started and sharpen your PR skills!

What are other PR skills do you think are useful for everyone to have?


You can do it too- The Starbucks phenomenon and how I quit that daily habit-

I did not drink coffee before coming to the U.S. In fact, I was disgusted by it. Then, I was introduced to Starbucks. The first cup of coffee I tried from Starbucks was the White Chocolate Mocha. I love whitechocolate, and added with a caramel drizzle and a small shot of coffee, it was perfect.

StarbucksAt first, I had one cup every once in a while. After our university (Southeast Missouri State U.) opened a Starbucks on campus, it became a customary daily activity to stop by the store, grab my morning coffee, greet the people there, and head to class. And knowing that every PR person drinks coffee, reinforced this consumption.

If for some reason I couldn’t grab my coffee and people saw me “asleep,” I would simply say “I didn’t have my morning coffee.” I became THAT person. One I feared to become. One that depended on coffee to function the rest of the day. But it was OK, because I was in PR and everyone did it- still does it.

If I woke up cranky, I’d go to Starbucks, get my coffee, talk to the barista, and he’d cheer me up in a few minutes while I waited for my coffee. The staff at Starbucks is one of the great things the company has, besides the coffee, of course.

I spent over 5 months going to Starbucks EVERY DAY. I got to a point where I thought there was no turning back, that I’d spend 5-10 dollars every day getting a cup of coffee for the rest of my life. I don’t know whether it was the expensive habit, the long waiting lines, or the fact that my stomach was saying “stop with the coffee- you’re destroying me,” but this semester, I decided to quit Starbucks.

I felt weird at first, I thought I would never be able to function without coffee, that I’d be asleep at my morning classes, and so forth. I was wrong. I learned to mentally “wake up” without the need of coffee within a month. At first it was hard not to succumb to the temptation of Starbucks’ fresh brew, but I did it.
Since January 2013, I can say I’m a recovering Starbucks addict. I still fall off the wagon once in a while (I’ve had 4 cups in 3 months- Oops!), but compared to the amount of coffee I used to have everyday, I think I’m doing pretty well. Even though the addiction is latent, I have managed to stay clean most of the time, well at least until today morning.

All in all, what I want you to know is that you can still be a functioning and active PR person, and not drink Starbucks. You may not be as hyper as a coffee drinker is, but you can still get the job done. The majority of PR people drink coffee, but if you can survive days without coffee and still deliver, you’ll stand out.

If you want to quit, I can tell you, it’s possible. You can do it and it’s going to be OK!