Monday, February 24, 2014

Intercultural PR- Do I Really Know What I Want To Do?

Do I Really Know What I Want to do?
Jen Murphy

I came to Denver shortly after spending a school year teaching English at a private school in Nablus, Palestine. I liked the idea of international education programs, but especially the idea of being the director of my own study abroad program. I studied abroad in Cork, Ireland, during my undergrad days and absolutely loved it. When I came to DU I was sure that this was what I wanted to focus on. And then, well, it got a little fuzzy.
My first month here I was working full-time as a graduate student assistant for the University of Denver Publishing Institute. Classes weren’t in session yet, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to work and explore Denver, as part of my job duties were running errands and serving as a chauffeur to guest lecturers from across the U.S.  I loved working with these graduate certificate students and I loved working with people from all different areas of the industry, including editors, independent publishers, literary agents, among many others. I started thinking, wait, is this what I want to do?
When the full time part of the job ended, I picked up another job at the DU library working in the Stacks department. When I wasn’t at the Publishing Institute office I was pulling books for patrons, re-shelving them, and completing other tasks involved in the upkeep of the library. Then I thought, well I loved volunteering at my local library before I joined the Peace Corps, am I better fit to be a librarian? I do love to read…
Once school started I had less time to ponder such questions, as I was working these two jobs on campus, as well as taking two classes per quarter. While two classes doesn’t sound like a lot to an undergrad, in grad school two classes is full-time and kept me busy. I was taking one of the required classes for the program, International Communication, and a course called Strategic Management of Communication Campaigns. Through this course in strategic communications I learned more about the public relations profession, as well as what it is like to work with a local NGO with international programs. Does this mean that I should get into nonprofit management?
This quarter I am taking two classes in communications: Foundations in International and Intercultural Communication and International and Intercultural Public Relations, as well as a class in International Project Analysis at the Korbel School of International Studies. I have realized this quarter that I could work in the publishing industry, or in a library, or in the PR or nonprofit sector. The most important thing for me is realizing which parts of these different career options I like and don’t like, and hopefully I will find something that combines most of them. Who knows, I could end up working as a library consultant for a nonprofit organization in the Middle East or West Africa. I do know I want to work abroad, my time in the Peace Corps and teaching in Nablus taught me that. Now I have two more quarters to fine tune my future plans.

1 comment:

  1. I am in a similar situation where I'm not exactly sure if this is the right thing for me to study and what career I'd want to get into. After my year abroad in Austria I was filled with this desire to pursue anything international and learn more languages. For a while I was dead set on working in the State Department at an embassy and work my way up to becoming an ambassador. However, as time went by I started liking the idea less and less. I love languages, I wanted to travel the world, and I loved to write, but what career could I have that entailed all of that?
    During undergrad my oldest brother helped me do research on finding a masters program that fit all that I wanted. We stumbled upon IIC on the DU website, and the description really intrigued me. And now I find myself in the IIC program, graduating next fall. The classes were not exactly what I expected, to be honest I wasn't sure exactly what I expected. I am in this constant limbo of not knowing what future I want to pursue, and daydreaming that I work as a journalist for National Geographic traveling the world and pursuing my passion of creative writing. But life cannot be planned out exactly, and we never know where we will end up in the end. Like my mentor always told us in class, in our lifespan we will have a multitude of different careers we pursue, and it's just a matter of being happy with what you do at that moment and moving on to the next thing that will keep you happy.