As a Valley native who grew up in Visalia, I was raised fully immersed in the heart of the agriculture industry. My childhood summers were often spent split between two grandparent’s houses, where each environment was drastically different. Half of the summer was spent herding cattle and irrigating pastures on my Papa’s ranch, while the other half was spent in the woods learning self-expression through art and photography with my grandparents who worked professionally in these industries.
Why is this at all relevant? Upon much self-reflection, I have come to the understanding that this has shaped who I am and what I am passionate about, and has led my journey as an Agricultural Communications major at Fresno State (Go Dogs!).
Now please, let me assure you that my journey has not been all rainbows and butterflies. My first two years in University were spent in a state of confusion and lack of belonging. While I felt a calling towards the agriculture industry, I lacked a deep passion for things like row crop production or meat sciences like many of my peers. As a person who had a natural eye for all things fashion/lifestyle and the ability to express these feelings artistically, in the agriculture college I felt lost.
Two years into my degree I came upon a summer job working for a company that produces mass quantities of wine. This job was not fabulous -- it entailed 4 a.m. mornings traveling from vineyard to vineyard collecting samples of the brix levels (sugar content) in the grapes. The Valley heat was hot, the dirt was never-ending, and the physical demand was taxing. However, somewhere between learning the back end of the industry and developing relationships with passionate growers, a fire was ignited from within me. Now commence the ‘aha moment’.
The lightbulb was finally lit and I developed a deep passion for a sector where fashion/lifestyle met agriculture-- the wine industry. I had a moment of clarity when I was able to still generate content, write, and be creative, all while sipping a lovely glass of cabernet. I am fascinated by the voice that a bottle of wine has. It tells many stories: how you’re feeling that day, the food you pair it with, the aesthetic and brand voice the label displays, the unique gift you purchase for someone special, the smiles and laughter shared while sipping the wine. As a #WomanInWine I am inspired by all of these things and hope that my creative eye may just help to make those lasting memories shared over a bottle of wine special for someone else.
So I get it, it is not an easy journey to find what makes your heart skip a beat. I have personally come up with ideas to help someone else just like myself find passion and stand out in an ever-changing industry.
Find Your Niche
After a session of hot yoga, my instructor read “No one is you, and that is your power.” Finding your niche can be a vulnerable space and possibly against the status quo, but who cares? Put yourself out there and go for it. There is so much power in who you are and what unique skills you have to bring to the table.
Some Things Never Go Out Of Style
In the fast-paced world of PR, we are all striving to make sure we are on top of the latest trends. This is important, but it’s also just as valuable to remember that some things never go out of style. I personally love the power that a handwritten letter has - and my advice to future interns entering the PR space is to always follow up an interview with a handwritten note. Thank your future (hopefully) employer for their time. It’s a sure way to stand out in the crowd.
Fake It Until You Make It
We all have times of self-doubt and insecure thoughts. My advice? Get over it. Those thoughts will always be there. If you find yourself doubting your capabilities, just fake it til you make it. This may sound a bit crazy, but I guarantee after a while of “faking” your confidence you will eventually grow truly confident in your capabilities and forget you were ever “faking” it to begin with. Besides, you already had the technical skills to complete the task or get the job offer. Take it as a form of reverse psychology... I promise it works.
So there you have it, just a few little words of wisdom that helped me find my way to RPM PR. I am so excited to spend the semester here with the ladies of RPM as their Social Media Intern. This fierce PR #squad inspires me daily to be confident in my abilities and sharpen my skills in communications. Here’s to being confident in our skills, honing in on our passions, and making ourselves vulnerable for the sake of growth.