I’m Natalie de Leon, a second-semester senior studying Public Relations at The University of Texas at Austin. I wanted to share a few words about my life as a senior heading towards graduation this spring. It may not surprise you that things are getting pretty hectic as I start the transition from student to professional.
Currently, I intern at Newton O’Neill Communications, a boutique PR firm specializing in lifestyle accounts and mission-based organizations. I also work at Chi’Lantro as a server (ever heard of the Kimchi fry?) and nanny a two-year-old and nine-month-old; they are precious angels. In my free time I volunteer with an organization on campus called Bend Bandits, a service organization that teaches inner city youth how to dance. I also enjoy photography, my two tuxedo kittens, and hanging out with my boyfriend and friends.
I have heard glorious things about internships, but I have heard the opposite too. Some would say I stumbled upon this internship and some would say it was a blessing; either way it has been an eye-opening experience of which I am grateful. Honestly, to earn a PR degree at UT they require an internship, but that’s not the only reason I looked for one. I wanted to get real world experience, not just what I read in books or articles. Finding an internship like this that teaches you the foundation of the PR business is amazing; therefore, providing a valuable experience that I will use throughout my profession.
In this last semester, “real” life is coming quicker than I ever thought. I feel like I’m prepared, but in many ways I have a lot to learn. My biggest struggle in becoming an adult is staying organized. Trying to balance work, school and personal lives is like a tornado coming at you with all its force. What helps me keep this work-life balance is my planner and online calendar. Organization is one of those mundane things that isn’t a natural fit for my personality. I despise it like a bad day, but I have to do it if I want to get stuff done and spend time with friends.
I use a Lilly Pulitzer planner and another on my Outlook calendar that connects to my phone. Both systems are color coordinated and pretty to say the least. I try to not over-schedule myself. I know that if I book activities back to back it probably won’t happen. I also try and find time for my friends and for myself. Hanging out with my friends is not what most people would find entertaining – rather, we are time efficient and enjoy going for a jog or studying. On the other hand, we certainly enjoy our share of wine, pizza and date nights, but those are special days -- like eating a favorite candy.
One thing I’m certain to find out in the next few months leading to May graduation is that I am not afraid of hard work, along with an appreciation of coffee. Ending my career as a student and starting my profession I know PR is my passion and what I will pursue after I graduate.