08 Aug My College Experience at Georgia Southern University
Here is a recap of my four years at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. I graduated in May 2020 with a B.S. in public relations and minors in professional & technical writing and entrepreneurship & innovation. Overall, I would rate GSU a six or seven out of ten.
I started at GSU in August of 2016 as a fashion merchandising major. In high school, I dual-enrolled, so I had several credits coming in. Initially, I changed my major to public relations and added a second major in journalism in order to not graduate before four years was up (but I dropped it).
I enjoyed Statesboro at first, but it’s a very small town. Statesboro is the opposite of Atlanta, and I need something in between the two—like Birmingham, Alabama or Charleston, South Carolina.
GSU is a large-scale, small-feel university…you can walk on campus and see people you know every day, but also meet new people daily. GSU has a rep for being a party school, but you pick your experience based on the people you choose to associate with.
Statesboro has several fun weekend trips close by including Savannah (1 hour), Tybee (1 hour, 15 minutes), Hilton Head (1.5 hours), Jekyll Island & St. Simons (2 hours), and Charleston (2.5 hours). Charleston is my favorite, and you must go for the day or a weekend trip!
It is key to get involved and surround yourself with good community in Statesboro. Get involved in organizations during your freshman year, when everyone is new and looking to make friends. The older you get, more and more of your friends graduate and move away. By senior year, I was tired of Statesboro and ready for post-grad life once January hit.
Your first year of college is probably the year you’ll have the most fun because your core classes are easier than your major classes—and you have little work. I hated my core classes and don’t understand why they make us take them. As you progress throughout college, your workload continues to grow. Junior and senior year are rough as far as coursework goes.
I had random roommates in a dorm on campus during my freshman year and lived with my friends off campus every other year. Living in the dorms, next door to all of your friends, is a good time.
Football & Greek Life
GSU does have a football team, and they’re in the sunbelt conference. Gameday is fun but doesn’t compare to SEC games. Chad Lunsford is the new head football coach with strong Christian leadership and has created a tight knit team, which I think has made a huge difference.
GSU has a large Greek population, and there is a street or “row” of sorority and fraternity houses. I don’t regret my decision to not join a sorority, but I did go through rush during my freshman year. If you’re unsure, I would recommend rushing and seeing what happens.
There are several campus ministries. I led with Young Life for three years and attended CRU, RUF, Wesley, and Campus Outreach throughout my four years.
During my freshman year of college, I got personal in my relationship with the lord during college and learned how to actually read the Bible. I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua with CRU during my freshman year of college, and it was a life-changing experience. I would encourage everyone to go on a mission trip at least once in college.
Leading with Young Life as a volunteer leader was a wonderful experience and I loved every second of it. It really allowed me to get involved with the local community of Statesboro. I will caution that leading Young Life is time-consuming, taking 15 to 20 hours per week—sometimes more.
Public Relations Department
I view public relations as the creative side of business and the management of a brand or individual’s image and relationships. If you’re interested in business but sway on the creative side, I’d recommend taking an introductory PR class.
Our public relations department is a bit further behind than the University of Georgia or University of Alabama. The PR department offers a course on PR & Social Media, but that’s it as far as the digital world goes. Furthermore, our marketing department does not offer any digital marketing classes.
The PR department doesn’t host a job fair nor help students obtain internships. However, you must have a PR internship to graduate. Note that PR and creative roles are jobs you typically have to fight for.
Dr. Groover was the most helpful professor I encountered in the PR department. She coordinates PR internships for class credit. In order to get a PR internship to count for class credit, you must first get it approved and your mentor must have a PR degree. I was a PR intern for Bulloch County Schools, which was a paid position and I had an amazing mentor! If you’re looking for a PR internship at GSU, I’d recommend Bulloch County Schools.
PR Research was the most difficult PR class I took in the department because of the statistics and analytics, but I learned so much! PR Campaigns is also difficult, but beneficial in the long run with the knowledge you’ll gain. PR Campaigns provides you with a PR campaign to put in your portfolio when applying for jobs, and PR firms love that!
Multimedia Journalism Department
Originally, I was a double major with multimedia journalism until May of my junior year of college. However, GSU’s journalism department has a large emphasis on broadcast news. Personally, I wanted nothing to do with broadcast and was focused on the writing aspect.
My news production/broadcast class forced us to operate these giant, clunky cameras that are becoming obsolete and I was not a fan of writing scripts for broadcast—thus I dropped the class and major. The journalistic writing classes benefitted me, but I dropped the major before I had to take more video classes.
Ms. Germani is the best professor I took in the journalism department and she has a wealth of knowledge to share as a former reporter. She’s amazing! I loved the features class that I took with Ms. Cowart and would 10/10 recommend.
GSU has one large career fair, Eagle Expo, during the fall and spring semesters. However, recruiters are looking for people in the business world i.e. sales, logistics, etc., IT, and STEM. My first two internships were unpaid, and each one following the second was paid. Each internship I’ve had was dependent on me reaching out directly to business owners and networking.
My professional and technical writing minor specialized in writing copy in a variety of formats. There are several different focuses in the writing department including creative writing and writing in the business world. I got to take courses on travel blogging, social media writing, and social media management, and I loved it!
GSU’s writing department is amazing! The writing department expanded when GSU merged with Armstrong University in Savannah, Georgia—which is now GSU’s Savannah campus. Looking back, I wish I would’ve double majored with writing. Dr. Schreiber was very helpful in assisting me to pick a writing focus.
Parker College of Business
The Parker College of Business and the entrepreneurship major/minor are amazing programs! My entrepreneurship and innovation minor specialized in small business management. I learned how to write a business plan and how to take business ideas from ideation to execution.
My favorite professor I’ve ever had is Dr. Norton, who teaches entrepreneurship and small business management. He owned several businesses before becoming a professor, which is key. I took him for the majority of my entrepreneurship courses and loved all of them!
Square One is GSU’s student entrepreneurship organization and is closely linked with the Business Innovation Group, Statesboro’s small business development center and start-up incubator. Square One and the Business Innovation Group provide students with several helpful resources including an annual start-up competition.
Having a few majors and minors in different colleges has allowed me to become well-versed as an individual. Understanding business speak has allowed me to better pitch business executives on social media campaigns and demonstrate a return on investment.
Stephen and I started dating at the beginning of my sophomore year of college, and it will be three years in October. I got Gracie the week before I met Stephen, ironically, and she doesn’t know life without him! Getting Gracie was one of the best decisions I made in college and bettered my mental health. Getting a dog in college isn’t for everyone, but it was a great decision for me.
I met two of my best friends at GSU, Abi and Ashlyn, and the best group of guy friends. Abi and I went to Texas together for our senior spring break trip, and it was the trip of a lifetime! Of course, it was the week that COVID broke out and everything started closing.
Lucky me, I graduated into the worst job market that this country has ever seen. I was in the final stages of interviewing for eight post-grad internships, but they were ALL canceled due to COVID. Then, I had a few mental breakdowns, and adapted and learned to pivot.
I feel so far away from college because mentally I feel like I graduated in March. Due to COVID, our graduation ceremony was moved online and classes were virtual after spring break for the rest of the semester…an ending to my time at GSU that I’ll never forget.