STUDENT LIFE: POLLY SNELL, UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND

Name: Polly Snell
University: University of the West of England
Course: Journalism and PR

Twitter: @pollysnell
LinkedIn: Polly Snell
Blog: pollyannabelle.wordpress.com

Why did you choose to study PR? 
I’ve known I’ve wanted to study PR since I was about 14. I’m extremely lucky because my mum is a recruitment consultant in the creative sector, placing people mainly in marketing and public relations roles in the South West, so she’s always helped me to work out which are my best skills and showed me jobs she thought I’d be great at. I chose to study PR it because it allows me to write, meet new people and after completing work experience at Purple Fish PR in Bristol, I was sure it was the right course for me because I enjoyed it so much. The thing I love about PR is you can work on so many different clients and can learn to become an expert in so many different areas meaning that no two days at work are ever the same.

We’ve learnt a great deal about public relations theory

What has your course involved?
My course has involved a range of different PR modules including Work Placement in third year and Creative Advertising and Processes in second year. Both of which involved presentations which went towards our final marks. We’ve also learnt a great deal about public relations theory which I genuinely think will help me throughout my career. I’ve also made quite a large collection of PR textbooks through my course, which I’m sure I’ll be able to relate back to! Our course has also involved key broadcast journalism elements. This had helped me learn to operate a camera and edit all my work. I’ve also learnt an enormous amoung about the laws behind journalism and feel I can come away with a greater understanding of the changing world of journalism.  

What has been the most interesting aspect of studying PR?
One of the most interesting things has been working alongside people who share my interests in PR, but want to go down totally different career routes. It’s been good to be able to discuss the different options with my peers, for example in third year ‘Work Placement’ module. We each completed work experience in completely different companies for this module, and had to perform presentations on what we learned in each place. 

Will you do a year in industry placement? 
I didn’t do a whole year placement, I did three months over the summer at a Bristol PR Agency Purple Fish. I had an amazing time there and learnt a great deal for when I came back to write about it for my work placement module. Purple Fish is a agency which covers a wide range of clients including Loch Fyne seafood and grill, which is who I worked mainly on. 

Have you any other PR experience?  
I’ve been completing work experience since I was 15 to try to get to know which area of PR I’d like to go into. I’ve also been to Grazia Magazine at the Bauer Offices in London to get some further magazine experience which I absolutely loved. I recently completed some PR work experience at Fleur of England, the luxury lingerie brand and I’m now working for Pam Lloyd PR, a food and fresh produce PR and marketing agency. 

I’d really like to get some experience in doing PR for Interior Design

What are your aspirations for after university?
I plan to work full time in Bristol for a year (in PR, obviously!) to save enough money to go travelling around South America for 6 months where I also plan on taking part a four-week rainforest conservation project. Something that really interests me is Interior Design, so eventually, when I come back to the UK, I’d really like to get some experience in doing PR for Interior Design so this may be something I look to go into! 

Who is your PR inspiration?
Drew Benvie, owner of London based agency Battenhall is a big inspiration for me, because his agency has won numerous awards despite being fairly young and uses social media to a very high level. 

I find that many PR professionals share interesting articles

Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read? 
I’m now a student member of The CIPR South West so I keep up to date with my emails from there. I also read a lot of what comes up on LinkedIn, as I find that many PR professionals share interesting articles that I may not otherwise come across. I also read behindthespin.co.uk, which is edited by my PR lecturer Richard Bailey. I always keep an eye out for student blogs too that are shared on social media, to see what others are writing about to give me inspiration for my own blog, pollyannabelle.wordpress.com

What are your tips for A level students considering a PR degree?
Don’t just pick PR and hope for the best, you need to spend a bit of time doing some work experience first to make sure you enjoy it as a day-to-day job. The theory can all make sense to you but unless you’ve actually spent some time working out what you’re good at and what you enjoy, you’ll just end up wasting the time of the people you later come to work for. You owe it to yourself to know a bit about your career goals before starting uni. Without being able to apply the theory I learned to a real life situation in my mind, I wouldn’t have been able to do half as well. 

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