RENO, Nev. – At one point or another during my career at The Reynolds School, I found myself in every single track of study. I started out with the aspirations of joining the news track and becoming a sports broadcaster, and then I made the switch to wanting to become a magazine writer, only to switch my dreams to becoming a graphic designer and studying in the visual communications track. I finally settled down this past semester with strategic communications as my final declared emphasis.
I often thought my constantly changing career dreams meant that I was indecisive and didn’t know what I wanted out of life, and that stressed me out. I felt like I was behind the curve every time I made a switch.
But as my impending graduation in March looms and I look back at my four years at RSJ, I realize that changing tracks and learning pieces from all aspects of the industry is perhaps my biggest strength. I wasn’t behind at all; I was just on a different path.
There are arguments to be made for finding your beat and sticking to it to become an expert in just that one thing. However, I believe that as a young professional the best thing you can do is not limit yourself.
Here are my top three arguments why you should try to learn it all:
The way the industry is going, you are going to have to know how to do it all anyways. Gone are the days where you could just focus on one skill, because guess what? Even if your job description entails writing press releases, you never know when you’ll have to step into the role of crafting social media posts or be asked to edit and resize photos for ads.
You get a different perspective when you finally do find your niche, and that makes you more marketable as a prospective employee. For example, if you end up falling in love with media relations, it can only help you to have experience being a part of the media.
You’ll never know if you’re where you want to be if you don’t explore all your options.
With that, I encourage every student to get out there and explore. Take classes outside your preferred emphasis, get an internship in a different part of the industry, and watch tutorials on random skills to expand your set. Get out there and remember not to limit yourself to one track of study.
Lauren Blackwell is a strategic communications student at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, the director of Wolf Pack Relations, and a PRSSA Nevada executive board member. You can email her at email@example.com, connect with her on LinkedIn, and follow her on Twitter @laurenbwell.