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What They Don’t Teach You In College

By Bailey Verreault

Being a senior at Furman University, I can safely say that I have had three years full of learning, lectures, coursework, knowledge and education. I could give you a 10-minute speech comparing and contrasting Aristotle’s and Plato’s rhetorical practices as well as talk about (for 15 pages worth) the media’s portrayal of various aviation incidents. Yes, learning how to structure a speech or write a research paper are extremely important skills to know, but over the past few weeks, I have learned certain life-long skills that can be applied not only inside the classroom, but outside as well. Over the past few weeks, I have learned that what they say is true: learning and knowledge don’t just stop in the classroom and in textbooks, but continue. For the month of June, I have had the pleasure of interning at the Hughes Agency, a full-time advertising, marketing and public relations agency. While here, I have been exposed to five life-long skills that are not directly taught in a classroom.

  1. Communication is Key
    “Communication is the key to every relationship.” I am sure you have all heard this saying at least once before. Communicate. Talk it out. Let them know what is going on. The Hughes Agency is a pro at this. Every Monday we have our team meeting where we update each other on our individual activities, which allows everyone to be kept in the loop. It never hurts to be updated or just to let your coworker know that you have not forgotten a certain task and will eventually get to it (if not already started.) Further, communication practically has “communicate” in it.  While it seems so easy and obvious, it isn’t always the easiest thing to do. It could be a little scary updating your boss about something, letting them know that you may need to extend the deadline… but wouldn’t it be better to communicate that with him/her before it’s too late? From my experience, it has been very helpful and greatly appreciated.
  1. Time Management
    Now this is definitely a skill that I wish I would have conquered my freshman year of college. While I do juggle coursework and extra-curricular activities at school, it may not be in the most effective way. The Hughes Agency has taught me how to juggle different tasks at the same time. Working in “the real world,” you will have multiple tasks to accomplish with a deadline. Unlike college deadlines, if you miss a deadline in the real world, you could lose a client or your job. While it may get overwhelming at times, my advice is to break each task into smaller increments. For example, work on one task for one hour and the other for 30 minutes, or work on finishing the most important tasks first. And how do I know what is the top priority? By asking my coworkers through communication.
  1. How to deal with a crisis
    Ask my friends to describe me, and 9 times out of 10, they would describe me as having a type A personality. I have a schedule, I make plans, and when something goes awry, I am thrown for a loop. However, not everything always goes as planned and you can either freak out about these situations or fix them. To quote the American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks, when something goes wrong, don’t worry… just take it “one step at a time.” Don’t panic, but instead take it one step at a time and work through each problem the best you can. Working at the Hughes Agency this summer, I have realized that not everything goes as originally planned…  meetings get moved, deadlines are pushed back or forward, but the people here deal with these problems and take them one step at a time.
  1. “Success” is a relative term
    What do you think about when you hear the word, “success?” Do you think about money? A nice car or house? Sure maybe, but there is not one way to define success; we all define it differently. One of the things I most admire about the people at the Hughes Agency is that they all have families and are extremely devoted to them. They’ve shown me different definitions of happiness and a successful life. They have shown me that you can have success in both your career and your family.
  1. Teamwork
    Lastly, the Hughes Agency has really taught me that everything in life does not always have to be a competition. In college, you are worried about you… having a good GPA and getting those extra two (much needed) bonus points. It’s all about succeeding, getting ahead and being the best. While it is still important to succeed (whatever your definition may be), when you get to the real world, working together as a team is just as important as competing.  In fact, working as a team will help you compete better, and accomplish more than if you acted alone. From my experience at the Hughes Agency, more success is achieved when we work together than separately… this team thrives on unity and team effort.

I have loved my time here. Not only have I learned the ins and outs of marketing, advertising and public relations, but five life-long skills that can be taken with me after college and that can be applied to life.