I am a big believer in the saying, “You learn something new every day.” It might seem cliche, but working in a student-run advertising and public relations agency has proven how true it is.
Going into my junior year of college as a Business major, I was a newly accepted Design Studies student who would have to take a ridiculous amount of hours each semester to graduate on time as a double major. I knew I would have to limit my involvement on campus if I was ever going to make it to graduation day. As I decided my focus would entirely be on my schoolwork, I saw an Instagram post promoting Roxo. My interest peaked, but it wasn’t until I looked at their previous client work that I knew this was one of the few student run organizations I could make an exception for. I was in luck. I discovered Roxo was not just for Strategic Communication majors. As a student who had feet in both the Business and Fine Arts school, I submitted my application. I asked myself, “Why not try the Strat Comm department too?” As soon as we had our first agency meeting, I knew I had a lot to learn from the people I was working with. Since then, I have honestly learned something new during every guest speaker, every group meeting, and every day in between. Keep reading to see the five most valuable lessons I gained from working in a student agency environment from a business and design major perspective.
1. Six Brains is Better Than One
In the Neeley School of Business, group projects usually result in everyone completing their separate tasks without collaboration. This can lead to groupthink, where each member assumes someone else will do the work. Or the project turns out a bit disjointed, lacking a cohesive message. After my first team meeting within Roxo, I immediately knew that this is different. Each team member has a specific job title including, Account Executive, Creative Director, Copywriter, PR Manager, Social Media Manager, Graphic Designer, and Account Planner. The expectation was set that it was all hands on deck. Through every project, feedback is taken into consideration. No idea is a bad idea, some of our strangest ideas have developed into our best creative solutions. Nothing is sent to a client before everyone has a chance to look over it and contribute to it. This is especially helpful when coming up with key insights or main ideas. One good idea is pitched, and each team member’s contribution takes it to the next level until we have a successful end product. Sometimes working on a team can be challenging, but I have realized that it all depends on your teammates. Roxo taught me that with everyone’s head in the game, creativity can thrive.
2. Have to Roll with the Punches
When there are bumps in the road, the easy thing to do is give up. However, my team never saw quitting as an option. By keeping a positive attitude and level head, many seemingly impossible tasks could be accomplished. For example, in the face of a pandemic, producing a promotional video for a client felt out of reach. Guidelines and restrictions challenged and changed almost all of our plans. However, we have reached out to other creatives within the agency who were ecstatic to help with the challenge. Solutions were developed, and we are now on our way to executing an amazing promotional video. When faced with a challenge, I learned that perseverance could result in unexpected success. Our agency is filled with students who have a passion for our clients; the students are resilient and will keep going until their client’s goal is achieved.
3. Encouragement is Key
Before our agency meetings, I didn’t realize how vital encouragement was. The constant excitement for other teammates' progress has been a catalyst for the agency's success. As other teams accomplish a goal, everyone celebrates with them. I believe this is what makes Roxo different. But the motivation doesn’t stop there. Each week, two students are highlighted as “Roxstar of the Week,” in which their accomplishments are recognized. Those stand-out students even get to claim a Roxo mug! It is the celebration of each person’s successes that have opened my eyes to how an agency can also become a family.
4. What on Earth is Slack?
Something unique about working in an agency is using a completely different platform to communicate effectively. This has been vital in maintaining communication during the online realm due to COVID-19. I have learned the in’s and out’s of Slack, a channel-based messaging platform, and witnessed the organization that results from it. Each team has a different channel where plans are made, ideas are generated, and updates are communicated. This was a whole new ballgame compared to merely sharing a Google Document like I was used to. We were able to keep up with several documents and communicate successfully thanks to Slack. Thanks to our Account Executives, Project Manager, and Executive Team, the agency never misses a beat. To say this is an organized student agency would be an understatement.
5. Teammates Who Double as Role Models
One thing that’s stood out within Strategic Communication is the respect and care found in each relationship. Behind all of the Zoom calls and shared Google Calendars, amazing people are working in Roxo. My team bonded over the highs and the lows of being online students. This helped us care for one another on a deeper level and understand when something went wrong. Being surrounded by students with exceptional drive, passion, and creativity has shown me the importance of working hard and making connections while in college. Although we started as strangers, my teammates have become my role models. Even when my creative strategies looked a little different from my team’s, I always felt like my ideas were respected.
As a non-Strategic Communication major, I had the misconception that the Bob Schieffer College of Communication focused on speeches and presentations, what we learned in our required COMM 101 class freshman year. After diving into the student agency world, I have grasped the real goal of Strategic Communication. It is actively listening to someone else’s story and relaying it to the world in a clear, heartfelt, and heard way.
Lauren Julius is a Marketing and Design Studies double major at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She is a Graphic Designer for the student-run agency, Roxo, Texas Christian University’s advertising and public relations agency located in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication. Lauren enjoys doodling in her planner, attending Orange Theory Fitness classes, and sitting on her front porch swings with her roommates in her free time.