One of my biggest role models, my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Stoudt, used to drill this quote from Calvin Coolidge into our class’ heads every day. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men [and women] with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” As a sixth grade student I never quite grasped the whole meaning and it wasn’t until later in life that I found myself reciting this quote, eventually learning to live by it.
Why do I live by this quote? “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.” I find nothing more to be true. I don’t believe you get to an endpoint because of a lucky break or because the stars aligned. I truly believe that success comes to a person because they persevere through whatever life hands them.
I’m originally from Lebanon, PA, and grew up on a poultry farm as the youngest of seven children. With that many siblings, you quickly learn that you’re easily comparable to others. I knew I had to be persistent to set myself apart and be independent. I had to be my own person, and that’s what I did throughout my time at Cedar Crest High School. While the rest of my siblings focused on sports, I found my niche with the newspaper, yearbook, and student council. Although I loved sports just the same, these were places that my older siblings had never touched and felt like my own. These activities helped shape my persona and eventually led me to decide my college major. I loved putting the work into a project for the newspaper or yearbook and seeing the finished product in other peoples’ hands, and I really enjoyed working with people to plan events and fundraisers through Student Council. I loved the feeling of both developing products and planning events, so I realized a future in public relations was for me. It’s fast-paced and allows you to work with others and turn creative plans into a finished product.
I applied to West Chester University in August before my senior year and got an early acceptance into the Communication Studies department. Going off to West Chester was quite a change for me. I grew up on a small-town farm and moved to a much more urban area. It was no Philadelphia city life, but it felt like the city to me. I was definitely out of my comfort zone so I knew I couldn’t let myself become just another face in the crowd. I worked hard in high school to declare my independence and I was determined to continue that. I took on extra classes and filled up my free time with extracurricular activities. I persevered through the homesickness and “small-fish-in-a-big-pond” mindset and made a new home at WCU.
I have been very involved during my time at WCU. I am a resident assistant, which means that I am responsible for building a community in the residence hall, enforcing university policy, and planning multiple events every month. I am a member of Public Relations Student Society of America and also the Communication Studies honors fraternity, Lambda Pi Eta. I’m also on the executive board of our Outdoors Club and play on an intramural volleyball team. My friends are constantly telling me that I am too busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometimes it feels as though there aren’t enough hours in the day, but I push through, just the way Mr. Stoudt wanted us to in 6th grade.
Three years later I’m starting my senior year of college. This first semester of senior year, though, will also be my last as I am graduating a semester early — something persistence and determination led me to. Along with senior year, I am also starting my new internship with Bravo Group. This internship with Bravo is my second opportunity to experience the world of public relations. I had a summer internship with Quantum Communications in Harrisburg and it was a great way to experience PR for the first time. I was determined to achieve my goals by graduating early and landing incredible internship opportunities. I succeeded by working hard and setting myself apart from the rest.
I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity with Bravo and I’m very excited to get underway. I know I will be learning a lot from this experience that I will take with me when I graduate from WCU in December and start my career.
As I start my journey into the real world, I will remember the lesson I learned from Mr. Stoudt all those years ago: “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” These two qualities together can conquer all. That’s how I’ve succeeded in life so far and that’s how I plan to continue.
Emily Brensinger | Bravo Group | Wayne Intern