Recently, my social media feeds have been chock-full of study abroad pictures, tweets about UD’s first snowfall of 2015 and the top ten reasons to spend winter session at Delaware. But what about all of those students reading social updates from their living rooms? What about everyone that opted not to pack up their bags, go abroad, or just go back to the land of the Fightin’ Blue Hens?
I never thought I would be one of those people that chose to come home and stay home from mid-December to mid-February. Until I was.
When I made my decision to stay put for the entirety of winter session, I received mixed feedback from my family and friends. Because UD’s break is pretty unique, people who have never heard of winter session can’t understand why it even exists. They don’t see the point of giving college students extra time off when almost every other university is back in session while we still have five weeks to go. Some people assumed that, like most college students with typical-length breaks, I would sit at home and take time to relax…except for two months rather than one.
Little do these people know that winter session is far from a time to gloat about how you are spending two months on the couch instead of in the classroom. Winter session allows people to explore a new country while knocking out some breadth requirements along the way. Winter session enables people get a broader education by offering classes students wouldn’t normally take. To put it simply, the goal of winter session is to allow the UD community to explore what other opportunities are out there.
This winter, I chose to explore professional development from the comfort of my own home. I have two internships, both within public relations and social media marketing-related fields, to obtain experience doing the work I love. I am compiling a list of PR firms that have internship programs matching my interests, and I have a list of Delaware alumni I want to reach out to before February. In my free time, I have a reading list of books I’m making my way through on effective engagement and professionalism. I even finally launched my own blog!
I barely have any time to sit on the couch and binge-watch Friends, and I am totally okay with that.
Like myself, PRSSA members choosing to stay home this winter have the chance to explore and apply themselves towards achieving their post-graduation dreams. From home, PR students can gain valuable experience in the industry through a winter internship. There is also no better time to get ahead on networking and developing a personal branding strategy; both become much harder to make a priority once classes begin. And with a clear personal voice in mind, students can get ahead on summer internship applications, knowing their unique voice sets them apart from other candidates.
I don’t regret that I’m not posting pictures of me jumping off a cliff in Hawaii, or that I’m typing this up on my desk instead of in the Trabant Lounge. I, along with my fellow aspiring public relations professionals, choose to have clear-cut goals and tactics I can take on at home. I am broadening my horizons, sharpening my skillset, and preparing to tackle whatever opportunities come my way this winter session and beyond.
Now excuse me as I take a selfie of myself writing this and post it using #UDWinter. My social media audience needs to know that I’m at home this winter, and I’m going exploring.
By: Paxton Mittleman
Paxton Mittleman is a sophomore communication interest and English double major who is passionate about public relations and social media marketing. When she’s not attending PRSSA meetings, Paxton is tweeting from her @BlueHenPaxton Social Media Ambassador account, volunteering with the sisters of Gamma Sigma Sigma, or planning events as a Senior Fellow for the UD Honors Program.