May 5, 2020 msuproductions
Angelica Maniscalco

A Thoughtful Final Semester

By Angelica Maniscalco

For four years, I spent hours at my university, learning how I would execute different strategies in the real world, for real clients. It wasn’t until Hawk Communications when the lessons that became so deep-rooted over the years would finally apply to actual instances. Up until now, these methods were saved only for final projects due at the end of the semester. Now they are executed daily.

Working within an agency, you quickly learn no client is the same. Each has its preference for the way of doing things. Each has different things they’re looking for or trying to promote. Being able to nimble and pivot from what clients need to another is excepted and required in the workforce. Montclair Art Museum and Autism MVP both are seeking different audiences, different tasks, and various strategies. Montclair Art Museum’s focus is on how to keep people connected to the museum online. My group and I post weekly throwback Thursdays to generate attention for their free Thursday’s the first of every month, while Autism MVP is much more of a serious matter. For weeks my group and I spent researching different angles on how to promote an event scheduled for late April, gather sponsors, grants, and various programs. I was constantly shifting my perspective from promoting a creative institution to researching important information for a serious event. This class allowed me to understand that not all clients need to meet at the same level; some require more time than others.

While I didn’t expect a global crisis to throw off the course, it forced me to learn hand-on how to adapt to the ever-changing world of public relations and marketing faster than any other class. With this ongoing pandemic, the crisis communication angled in a different direction than I learned. I also learned how some clients can’t handle the pressure and walk away or take advantage of the increased digital visibility advantage on social media platforms. Unfortunately, some clients put their businesses on-hold and paused our work, while others tried to find ways to survive in this global crisis. Events were canceled, which forced my group and me to find other ways to promote their business. For instance, with the Montclair Art Museum, we’ve been searching for different ways to draw attention that isn’t about its free event. My groups were more dedicated than ever to communicate amongst one another to find ways to continue our efforts in the best way we know-how.

Group projects are every student’s nightmare. Hawk communications are 14-weeks of group work, and for once, I was grateful for it. For the whole semester, I was able to build upon my teamwork skills more than ever before. I understand that while at the end of this, we will receive a grade to amount for our work, we also aren’t working hypothetically with fake clients like most group projects. This work is real; our successes and failures are real. Within our team dynamics, one person acts as the leader, in-charge of relying on what the clients need. Then as a team, we must communicate with how we believe the best way to bring that to life. The opportunity to slack off no longer exists; you have to work together and are held accountable for the work that you put out. We’re responsible for someone else’s business. It’s our job to build up their digital foundation or bring awareness to their cause. As a team, I learned more than ever how to work and communicate amongst each other to handle that responsibility as equals.

Not many classes allow you to simulate your dream-job. Hawk Communications demolished the invisible barrier of college and the real world to have an opportunity to apply what we learned over four years to real people. It has been a first-hand experience to see if this world is something I want to pursue, in the final semester I’m glad I had a chance to see if this is for me.