It seems every time I post a status or tweet about my choice to leave school for a full-time social media gig in New York City, a debate emerges about real-world experience and the education you gain in school.
I am not devaluing a college education; it just isn’t right for me in my current situation.
My issue, however, is with the word education. Education is not synonymous with the time spent in college.
In the new world of PR, our education has only just begun. We have a unique opportunity, as professionals of all levels of experience, to capitalize on this “revolution,” and to become a student of the industry.
Real-World Experince is Now in Session
After my spring semester at Temple University this year, I went opportunity hunting in New York for a position that would challenge me and give me the experience I really needed to grow my young career.
I arrived at 2tor and can say that from day one, I have become a student again.
With so many new tools and strategies emerging, our jobs are have become full-time learning experiences. Furthermore, it’s fascinating there is no chain of education.
The education of social media is a collaborative classroom where new ideas and practices are emerging from interns all the way to CEOs.
In the classroom of social media, students become professors and professors become students.
Experts are the Best Students
“Expert” and “thought leader” are labels that should not be taken lightly. While there are a lot of delusional “ninjas” and “mavens” still out there, there are plenty of professionals that have legitimately earned the title of “expert.”
These professionals haven’t become experts in new PR because they had all the answers from the day Facebook released, but because they took a step back and became students again.
Their education was reset.
The experts have been, and always will be, the best students.
Education Doesn’t End
Our job is to take the fundamentals we have learned in the past and apply them to new campaigns and methods of communication, thus extending and continuing the education many of us began back in college.
This approach isn’t reserved to anyone.
Whether your career has only 15 years or 50 years left, your recognition for adaptation should never cease to exist.
A New Definition
This post is not meant to make a radical claim that school is irrelevant nor is it to enlighten new practices. Frankly, I hope you’re reading this and reflecting on how you already have adopted this mindset.
That said, I wrote this post out of a passion for learning and to express the need to embrace progress and new thinking.
In PR, our careers and education are not defined by what occurred in the classroom. They are equally defined by our approach to an evolving industry and the thirst for learning and innovation that sees no end.
What do you think?