By: Sarah Virkstis (@SarahVirkstis)

As I wrap up my time at Grand Valley, I look back on this season in my life with fond memories and lots of learning. In fact, the APR program has treated me so well, I can’t wait for the time I am able to continue my education in this field and dive further into the world of advertising and public relations. This program has taught me a lot, and with that, here are the top five things I learned from my time spent in GVSU’s advertising and public relations program. 


How to write 

 I always thought I was a strong writer, but boy was I wrong. Writing for public relations, advertising, marketing, and corporate communications is a whole other ballgame. That’s okay though, that’s why you’re a part of this program; you’re willing to learn. Just remember that whether you think you’re a good writer or not, there is always room for improvement.

Spin is a sin 

Spin is a sin. That is all. Don’t refer to what you do as spin. It’s not, and perpetuating it as such, just furthers the negative view that some people have on what we choose to do for a living. 

Learning & Planning is fun 

If you’re a type-A personality, in that you love planning every second of every day of your life, this is the career path for you. Once you start getting involved, you’ll have engagements, parties, extracurricular learning sessions. Go to as many of them as you possibly can, plan for them accordingly, and enjoy every second. There are so many opportunities for you as a student, take advantage of that!

Holy cow there’s a lot of certifications 

CAP 105 can be overwhelming, I know. It may seem like the certifications never end. They will, but remember that there are always more that you can and should be taking advantage of. Whether it’s Hootesuite, Google products, Hubspot, Facebook, you name it; just do it! Make yourself dangerous for future employers. The more certifications and qualifications you have to show, the more ahead you’ll be in your career. 

Intentions are everything 

Imposter syndrome is a real thing. We all think we aren’t good enough no matter how hard we try. It’s okay to feel that way. But I’ve learned that if I let that mentality show even just the slightest, I let my own credibility down. Be proud, show what you know, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Go into situations with the intention of expanding your knowledge and expanding your network. Treat every little instance in your APR career as a moment to learn and grow from. 


There are many more than five lessons to be shared from my experience in this program. Overall, I’m so thankful for every lesson I’ve learned during my time in the APR program at GVSU.


Sarah is a senior pursuing her degree in Advertising and Public Relations. She is the current VP of Philanthropy for Grand Valley’s Chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America’s. She is also an Account Associate for Grand Valley’s student-run, accredited firm, GrandPR. She is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan. When you can’t find her on campus, she is typically hanging out downtown (camera in hand), or out at the barn getting ready to ride her horse.