Ohhhhh, We’re Halfway There…

….ohhhh, livin’ on a prayer!

Okay, that was lame, but it fit so perfectly. It has hit me that my time in New York is halfway over.

Time flies when you’re in the big city, so without being too sappy or cynical, here are the five main lessons I’ve learned, about the city, the public relations industry, and myself since I’ve been in New York:

  1. It’s okay to do things alone. For some reason, I have this idea in my head that if I’m not doing something with other people (running errands, having lunch, seeing a show), I am a friendless loser. You’re in a city of eight million people and you’re alone? That can’t be right – that’s what the voices say. Sometimes, I’ve forced myself to do things alone because my other option, the option that would involve being around people, would put me in situations I wouldn’t want to be in. New York can be lonely, but I am learning that it’s better to go solo than do something contrary to your values.
  2. New York really is the coolest city on earth. Granted, I have not been to every city on earth, but I’m pretty sure New York is the coolest. It is amazing/awesome/thrilling/enormous/challenging/busy, and if you’re lonely or sad or upset, you’re still in New York and that’s enough. The mix of people, cultures, buildings and industries here really does make it the place to be. I’m not saying it’s the place to be forever, but I am grateful for the chance to see it as more than a tourist.

    Not even the best New York skyline picture, but still amazing...how do you compete with that?

  3. PR jobs are not the same as PR classes. Let me qualify this by saying that my internship is not a real job and that I haven’t taken every PR class my school offers. But, the working world is totally different from college. You don’t do public relations in the real world by consulting a theory in your textbook – you do it by understanding the task at hand and what you want to accomplish in that unique situation. That’s not to say that college is worthless, but it’s really only worth it if you understand how to apply it to real-world tasks, situations and strategies.
  4. You have to be fearless. Recently, I had coffee with a PR industry veteran who works at Rodale. She dispensed a lot of valuable advice, the best piece of which was to be fearless. Whether it’s picking up the phone to call a reporter even though you’re terrified of talking on the phone (that’s me, at times), or asking to meet with a professional to talk about their work. Work through your weaknesses and become stronger and better at your work in the process.
  5. Learn from and be grateful for everything that happens to you. (Warning: this one’s a little sappy.) Be grateful that you’re scrubbing the toilet, because even though it’s a toilet, it’s in the coolest city on earth. Be grateful that you get to talk to your little sister on Skype, because it’s not everyone who gets to hear about his or her sister playing Louis Armstrong in a summer camp play. Be grateful that you get to talk with a lady from the Bronx on the subway, even if you’re packed in on the train like sardines. Be grateful that you are where you are, because you’re there for a reason.

Even though the last lesson was a little sappy, it’s still true. I think I’ve learned more about myself in the last month than I did in the previous nineteen years (more or less).

Thanks for reading over these past few weeks – feel free to drop a comment and say “hi!” Here’s to the next five weeks!

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11 thoughts on “Ohhhhh, We’re Halfway There…

  1. Lauren Switzer says:

    Paige,

    I love this post! I’ve never actually been to New York, but you definitely make me want to go there. I think these are all wonderful points… you learn so much more through “real” experiences, I think, than in the classroom. My time in Australia was really similar in so far as it taught me a lot about myself in a short period of time. I’m glad to hear you love NYC! It sounds like your experience has been amazing, and I cannot wait to read more of your posts in the future (adding your blog to my Google Reader as we speak…). Take care 🙂

    Lauren

    • Paige Landsem says:

      Lauren,

      Thanks for commenting and for your kind words on the blog – I am excited to know I have at least one Google Reader subscriber. 🙂 I appreciate hearing from fellow students who have had similar experiences, especially in places far from home. Australia is definitely on my list of places I really want to visit! Hope summer is treating you well!

      Paige

  2. sashahalima says:

    OMG, I love this post! @ValerieSimon tweeted it and I was like “what? someone else living in my brain besides me?” —

    Granted, I’ve been out of school since Fall 2008, but I just moved to NYC for a job in PR (not an internship, but a ‘real world’ one — scary I know) and reading your post just seems so spot on!

    I hope you enjoy the second half of your time in the City and I definitely will keep some of your pointers in mind.

    Especially, the be fearless & you aren’t alone ones — which for me are the hardest to shake sometimes.

    🙂 Good luck!
    Sasha

    @SashaHalima
    http://littlepinkbookpr.com

    • Paige Landsem says:

      Sasha,

      Thanks for commenting! It’s so great to know that there’s someone out there in the big city who feels the same way – feels like you’re the only one sometimes, doesn’t it?! I really appreciate hearing from someone who is going through the same thing. It’s a process, and I’m sure you’re doing great in the real world!

      Thanks again!
      Paige

  3. Krystal says:

    Oh Paige(In French accent) lol,
    You blog is soooo cool!!!! And you have such a way with your words I couldn’t stop reading =D It made me laugh, not really cry(but I thought about it lol) and ponder life which I felt like was kind of your goal (If it wasn’t sorry it should have been lol) Well Thanks so much for blogging and chatting with me today =D I’m praying for you =D
    love,
    Krystal

  4. Melissa Gambino says:

    Hey Paige,

    I just randomly decided to read your post and I must say, that really spoke to me.. as funny as that sounds… especially the first one. Its been the one thing I have been dealing with lately and depending on God to get me through.. I can totally relate to the alone feeling. It was great to read that encouragement. I’ll see you in the fall in BA 🙂

  5. grandma says:

    Paige,
    Oh, how I wish I could bein NYC with you! Everything you do sounds so fun and exciting.
    You sound confident and pretty fearless to me running around NYC by yourself. I’m so happy for you to have this opportunity in the BIG APPLE. So cram all you can in the next 5 weeks.
    I’m praying for you daily.
    I’m soooooooooooooooo proud of you and love you! I can’t wait to read about your next adventure. You Go girl.
    God Bless….. Grandma

  6. Valerie Simon says:

    This really took me back to my time in NYC and the deep impact it had on me. Living in the city let me feeling both appreciative of all that I have and at the same time aware of the infinite possibilities tomorrow can bring. The independence and new sense of gratitude have stayed with me and and forever changed my outlook on life.

    Make the most of every moment the next 5 weeks brings… and keep sharing!

    Best,
    Valerie

  7. Jeremy Liebman says:

    I agree- jobs are so much different than class. Great post. Glad to see you’re enjoying yourself.

    I disagree- NY is cool… Not the coolest city on Earth 🙂

    P.S. Aren’t you a Red Sox fan?

    • Paige Landsem says:

      Okay, Jeremy – what IS the greatest city on earth?

      And, if you are asking because of my Facebook profile picture…I am not a diehard Sox fan. I was in Boston and kind of on a Red Sox high that night. And, Yankees fans are (generally) sort of obnoxious.

  8. Laura Groshong says:

    Very good post Paige. I think I’ve missed a few which I will have to catch up on. I especially like the first thing you learned about being alone. My aunt once told me that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. There is a healthy sense of “aloneness” as opposed to the lonely sense of loneliness.

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