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Comms 485 Ryan Gray Reflection Paper After graduating from high school, I knew I wanted to be a broadcaster.

I had experience with video production, newsgathering, and interviewing, and I liked connecting with people and using modern technology. During my freshman year, I enrolled in both Communications 101 and a video production class, thinking I was going to be a broadcaster. As I attended these classes, the path towards broadcasting did not feel right to me. It was not until the last few weeks of my mission that I realized what needed to change. I distinctly remembered a guest lecturer, Susan Walton, who had spoken about her experience as a public relations professional in my Communications 101 class back at BYU. This memory kept recurring in my mind, so without any more research on the profession, I changed my emphasis to public relations. I have never regretted my decision. Public relations has been a perfect fit for me. I am confident that Brigham Young Universitys communications program has prepared me for the public relations field. Though still a student, I have already collected many skills and had various experiences that can be added to my resume. From Communications 235 to Communications 485, I have learned how to write, think strategically, and conduct research from the various classes Ive enrolled in.

Communications 321 changed my perspective on what it means to write concisely. It became a challenge of mine to condense complicated issues into wellwritten news articles. The class taught me to formulate my ideas, distinguish the main points of an issue, and turn assignments in on time. That semester I wrote on the Sports Beat about Utahs Major League soccer team, Real Salt Lake. I had to abbreviate 90-minute soccer games into brief news articles and meet tight deadlines while doing it. It also taught me to write with my audience always in mind. The skills I learned from 321 about writing have helped me land jobs and internships in more than three companies. Communications 235, 336, and 421 taught me to think strategically. I learned how to assess a problem, develop a solution, execute a plan, and evaluate the success. By studying and working on real campaigns, I was able to learn how to think like a public relations professional. Every time I watch the news, I automatically start coming up with public relations campaigns to solve problems mentioned on TV. In companies I have worked for, I have helped solve real-life crises because of the strategic mindset I have developed in these classes. Before enrolling in the public relations program, I had never participated in public relations research. Communications 318 taught me to conduct and use qualitative and quantitative research to improve companies performance. The entire class was hands-on as we conducted research for a real client. These real-life experiences of dealing with a real CEO and real customers enhanced my learning

experience. I was able to conduct a focus group of Utah Valley teachers and administrators in the education sector. I used Qualtrics to create a survey that was taken by more than 800 people. These experiences have not only taught me research skills, but also have helped me feel more confident in job interviews. I can confidently tell potential employers that I have experience with qualitative and quantitative research because of Communications 318. All of the lessons Ive learned in each of these classes can be encompassed into one overarching message: one can always improve. As I prepare for the public relations profession, I still have much to learn. My own learning and growing will never stop, and I believe the same message can be applied to the public relations program here at BYU. Though I have learned a great deal in this program, I believe that it can be improved by teaching about media pitching, SEO, and basic website building. Many public relations jobs ask for these skills in their job descriptions; however, I have not learned them through my public relations classes. I also believe a class dedicated to social media skills and tactics could be a great improvement to our program. Though these skills have not been added to BYUs collection of public relations classes yet, I feel confident to graduate from the public relations program, obtain a job, and succeed as a public relations practitioner because of my experiences at this university.