There is nothing normal about the Applied Public Relations class at the University of Indianapolis. Like honestly, there isn’t a single normal thing. Even the chairs and desks aren’t normal! The two hour and fifty minute Monday night class in an irregular beast that only a select few truly have the fantastic opportunity to learn to understand.
It is kind of hard to explain to someone who has never been in Top Dog what Top Dog is and it’s importance. I mean sure it isn’t hard to tell people that Top Dog Communication is a student-run public relations firm at the University of Indianapolis. It is hard however to explain why Top Dog is so special. There is just something about Top Dog that you don’t see coming when you enter the class for the first time, but soon enough it hits you. In Top Dog you as a student are more valued, respected and needed than in any other class.
Your job in Top Dog is to learn how to be a PR professional while acting like you’re a PR professional. Attend meetings and brainstorm with clients as if you’ve done this a million times before. Create websites and social media cards because social media cards are totally a thing and they totally make sense. Keep track of like 60 different assignments due at different times to different people. Join PRSSA. Pull up your big kid pants and learn to adult while being expected to be an adult. It all seems so overwhelming but gosh it is worth your while.
When you’re brainstorming in a client meeting, spitting out ideas that you didn’t even know you could think of, there is someone there listening to you and taking you seriously for the first time in probably forever. We’re young adults, we’re not meant to be taken seriously yet! Or are we? In Top Dog your thoughts and opinions are highly valued, if not praised. It is the first time that your voice is 100% heard and that starts to build a new kind of confidence within you. You learn that speaking your mind is what makes the world go ‘round and that answering your emails also keeps the world spinning.
There are plenty of classes that offer real world experience and plenty of classes that students enjoy. But there aren’t too many classes that you’ll enjoy and offer real world experience that put your work out into the world while building your reputation, portfolio and confidence. The friends you make become your network, your assignments become your portfolio, and your title as member of TDC becomes a part of your resume. Before you know it you’re 10 steps ahead of the game in PR and you’re s second semester sophomore.
The Applied PR class, COMM 140, or Top Dog Communication is one of those cheesy, “building for life,” classes that actually works. And you’ll remember always how it felt to sit in a swivel chair and race through an AP Stylebook quiz.