STUDENT LIFE: ABI KITCHER, SOUTHAMPTON SOLENT UNIVERSITY

Name: Abi Kitcher
University: Southampton Solent University
Course: Public Relations and Communication
Twitter: AbiKitcherPR
LinkedIn: Abi Kitcher
Blog: www.SmallGirlBigWorldPR.com

I was immediately attracted by their strong employability rate

Why did you choose to study PR?
I found PR in a different way to other students. I initially started a degree at another university studying journalism and realised it wasn’t for me very early on. I left after one semester and went straight back into figuring out what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to write but not as a journalist. I came across PR and communication at Solent and was immediately attracted by their strong employability rate and the skills included writing, presentations, creative thinking and media skills among many others. As soon as I saw this overview I wanted to know more and immediately fell in love with the thought of being in the PR Industry.

What has your course involved?
My course has involved so many different things! I have had to write press releases, create microsite plans, pitch to real life clients such as Rolls Royce and Five By Five and also learn how to create viral videos and radio interviews. Learning all these skills have helped develop and understand what PR is all about and understand how I can make myself more employable when I graduate.

What has been the most interesting aspect of studying PR?
The most interesting aspect of studying PR for me is probably doing things you initially didn’t expect to do when starting the course. I never thought I would be creating viral videos or microsites. There is a lot more to PR than just writing and pitching to people. A lot of other hard work goes into campaigns, this is something I’ve learnt as I’ve gone through my degree.

Will you do a year in industry placement?
Our university course doesn’t offer a placement year but we do have to complete two sets of 2 weeks work experience at the end of our 2nd year. I am currently heading towards the end of my 2nd year and have one work placement sorted at a successful PR agency based in Dorset in May. I am currently arranging my second work placement and hope to get a placement in the health or charity PR sector.

Have you any other PR experience? 
When I left the journalism course after one semester, I got involved with a local marketing business called Bartley Marketing. I worked on helping them with their website they had just bought called Lymington.com that promotes and champions local businesses around The New Forest area. It was my job to attract a younger audience to the website. My part of the website was called “Lymingteens” and I wrote about different events that would appeal to my target audience and promote them on social media. I was involved in a form of PR without even realising it.

I am very passionate about working in an organisation that wants to help people

What are your aspirations for after university?
My aspirations are to be successful and happy in either an agency because I love working on different things and no day will ever be the same. Or on the other hand, work in the not for profit sector as I am very passionate about working in an organisation that wants to help people, if I can be part of that from a PR perspective that would be an amazing feeling.

Who is your PR inspiration?
My PR inspiration is the same as fellow PR student Laura Bradley’s, mine is Rebecca Henderson. When I met her at a university PR networking event she was so inspiring that we had to meet again for coffee. She told me all about her struggles and achievements in working in PR for certain companies and how she never gave up. Rebecca did what she had to do, but she did what made her happy in the end and now works for Lee Peck Media and she seems very happy and excitedly busy there. I feel like she’s extremely strong and she’s a wonderful person. So wonderful we couldn’t stop talking and my coffee got cold! I feel like if I was worried about something she would be my PR person go to and she would give me the most honest advice.

Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
I mostly scroll through my social media feeds for the latest news and I tend to have a look at my news apps on my phone for general news. The PR blogs I am currently reading are fellow student Livi Wilkes’ Blog “Live, Love, Laugh PR”  as she’s a reason I wanted to start blogging, I love reading her posts and can relate to a lot of them! I also read PR Careers [Ed – thanks Abi!] to read about other students and other PR professionals to get an insight into their world of PR.  I also read the online PR magazine Behind The Spin, I have been picked by them, amongst others, for #BestPRBlogs by a PR student a couple of times so far and it’s great to read what the other best PR blogs are each week. 

Go to taster days and get involved in any experience possible before you start the course

What are your tips for A level students considering a PR degree?
My tips for any A-Level student considering PR is to make sure it’s for you. Go to taster days and get involved in any experience possible before you start the course, then you’ll know that it’s something you enjoy doing. Don’t make the mistake that I did and rush into assuming that because I loved to write, journalism was the only course for me. Explore your options, and if you find that PR is for you then go for it! It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and now I feel like I’m finally finding my place in something I’m passionate about and that’s the best feeling.

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