It’s pretty surreal to think that this will all be over soon.
Commuting to campus, walking past the fountains, going to class, working on papers. All of this will be a part of my past in about a month.
When I first arrived at Capital in the fall of 2017, I really wasn’t sure what to expect of my college journey. I was nervous, relatively shy, and just wanted to find a community where I belonged. I didn’t want to be one of those commuters who felt really disconnected from campus.
Luckily for me, I‘ve found two communities to take part in: the Chimes and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
I joined both organizations in my first semester and if you would have told first-year Zach where he would be within those two respective organizations now, I would have said you were crazy.
For the Chimes, I started as a technology contributor. Heavily inspired by websites like The Verge and technology YouTubers like MKBHD, I wanted to report on tech with a lens pertaining particularly to college students. This led to me creating my very own tech and gaming blog and also aided me in my journey both as a public relations student and PRSSA member.
For PRSSA, I started as a general member, attending every meeting I could. By the time my first year was over, I was being offered a new role: Chapter President. I was admittedly not expecting to take on this role but decided to take it on anyways. Let me tell you I’m so happy I did.
Being a PRSSA chapter president allowed me to connect with a ton of professionals and fellow chapter leaders from across the country. I was also offered the opportunity to hop on my first ever plane to attend the PRSSA national conference. It was there that I was offered a new opportunity: submit an article to the PRSSA national blog, Progressions.
I decided to write about the intersection of two of my favorite things: public relations and gaming. This article eventually was bumped up to the blog of the sister organization (the Public Relations Society of America, aka PRSA) and the piece put my name in front of a ton of PR professionals. It also made me realize my dream job: working in public relations for the video game industry.
Fast forward to junior year, I found myself in two new roles: social media manager for the Chimes and a member of the National Publications Committee for PRSSA. This year was also the year that CNN and The New York Times partnered with Otterbein University to bring a Presidential Debate to Columbus. A handful of the Chimes staff members put applications in to gain media credentials to cover this event and I was fortunate enough to be one of two selected. At this event I networked with students and journalists and was able to further sharpen my editorial skills.
A couple of days after this event, I hopped on a plane again, this time San Diego bound, for that year’s PRSSA International Conference. It was at this event that fellow students from around the country encouraged me to pursue another role: National Committee. Specifically, I was encouraged to run for the Vice President of Brand Engagement, overseeing the society’s national blog, Progressions, podcast, and media relations efforts.
Much like first-year Zach, I wasn’t so sure if I was qualified for such a position. I mean, this is a big deal. I decided to stick with what got me this far though and ran for the position.
About a year ago today, actually, I was named the Vice President of Brand Engagement for PRSSA National, an organization serving over 9,000 student members and over 370 chapters across two continents.
Around that same time, though, I was approached by then Managing Editor of the Chimes Sydney Deibert about becoming the next Managing Editor. Again, I said yes, and I’m so grateful that I did.
Being able to tell a part of the Capital University story through this pandemic year has been tough but incredibly rewarding. Seeing campus shut down a little over a year ago to now receiving my vaccine at Kerns Religious Life Center just last week has truly been a full-circle experience.
And talking about full circle experiences, that’s really how I feel my college journey has played out. My initial writing experiences with the Chimes gave me the confidence to submit a blog to Progressions, which sparked a passion for me in Games PR and led to me eventually becoming Editor-in-Chief of said blog as Vice President of Brand Engagement. My role as VPBE gave me new resources, inspirations, and skills, which I carried back to the Chimes. One great example of this is the C.U. Review, a podcast I helped to jumpstart after diving into the world of podcasting as VPBE.
Why am I mentioning all of this? Hopefully, to inspire a reader or two to get involved. By saying yes to opportunities and getting involved, I’ve been able to have some really great experiences, meet some fantastic people, and build skills in my field of interest. Four years as a Capital University student will literally fly by, so be sure to make the most of them (and to have fun along the way!).
There’s definitely some people I want to shout out as I wrap things up. Firstly, my Chimes colleagues: Heather Barr and Sydney Deibert for giving me a chance and encouraging me to take on more responsibilities, Robert Cumberlander for being my partner-in-crime for this crazy year, and of course, Kelly Messinger for her support and guidance along the way.
And for PRSSA, I want to thank Dr. Lois Foreman-Wernet for her continued guidance and support as I’ve risen through the organization, my executive board members at Capital throughout the years, and all of my colleagues on this year’s National Committee for their support, inspiration, and enthusiasm for the organization.
Lastly, thank you for reading and I hope your Capital experience is as rewarding and enjoyable as mine has been.