How Remote Students Are Staying Involved On Campus: PR Major Jenna Fischer

Student's home desk.

Today, we speak to Jenna Fischer, a senior Public Relations major with a Strategic Communications minor who transferred from Middlesex County College. Jenna is studying remotely from her home in East Brunswick, NJ (Middlesex County) in light of COVID-19. She tells us more about how she’s staying involved on campus while living at home.

Jenna sitting on her bed in her dorm room.

“I chose Rowan because I saw that [the school] had a lot of opportunities to grow within my major. They were one of the few colleges in the state that had my major and had other options to go along with it,” says PR major Jenna Fischer, who initially chose Rowan because she knew a degree at Rowan would help her get her foot in the door with a job before she graduates.

At Middlesex County College, Jenna initially didn’t know what major would be the right one for her. She decided to talk to her advisor and everything suddenly came together. 

“I needed to talk to someone about picking classes, and I didn’t know what to pick. She told me, ‘Well, you seem like you would be good in public relations.’ I didn’t even know what that was! She started explaining it more, and I realized that it would be a good fit for me. So, I looked into it some more and ended up falling in love with it,” she explains. 

Jenna’s senior year has been a little different than the rest of her years at Rowan because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She admits there have been some challenges with taking online courses and staying at home in East Brunswick, NJ. 

“Honestly, one of the most challenging parts is I feel like I have a lot more work! I also have been going a little stir-crazy. I’m a very introverted person so I like being home … but this is a new level!” 

However, even though she’s off-campus, Jenna is still staying hopeful and active on-campus through her e-board position as Communications Director with Rowan’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. She had her doubts about being able to work with the club remotely, but she found that she still enjoys her work with the club.

Jenna's computer screen displays the PRSSA website.

“I was kind of worried because I was thinking what am I going to do because I’m not on campus but it was a lot easier than I thought,” Jenna says. “I’m always reaching out to the advisors of the club to just make sure I’m on the right track of things.”

Jenna also shares that her club meetings give her a sense of community even when she’s away. She says PRSSA has been very accommodating and she feels more connected to everyone on campus. 

“Our e-board meetings definitely keep me informed with what’s going on. Everyone’s also super understanding. We did do an in-person picnic, but we also had a virtual option so I think its beneficial for a club to incorporate both options. I actually did end up going to campus because I was itching to go! Get involved in some kind of club because that’s the main reason why I’m in contact with everyone on campus. Everyone in the club are mainly my friends on campus too.”

When asked about the pros and cons of staying remote this semester, Jenna says:

“The main reason why I didn’t want to come back to campus was because I was scared that I was going to catch something and bring it back home. I also didn’t feel the need to be back on campus if I was doing my classes online. So I feel a little safer being home. A con for me would be that I don’t get to see my friends in person very much. One way I do try to stay involved is that I FaceTime them a lot, which I highly recommend everyone do!  I’m not a big fan of talking on the phone but it’s good to be able to talk and see your friends that way.”

Jenna's at home school desk.
Jenna’s “at home” school desk set up

Quarantine hasn’t been all bad for Jenna. She even found an internship opportunity within her field!

“I was so ready to give up on applying because I wouldn’t hear back or I wouldn’t get them. I was getting so frustrated because a lot of my friends were still getting internships! So, I was scrolling through social media and this one company I was kind of eyeing put out a post saying ‘Hey we’re going to have summer interns.’

“So I applied immediately and ended up getting it! It was so much fun and all-remote. I was a social media marketing intern. I was skeptical about it at first because I wasn’t sure if I was going to get the same experience. It was so fun!”

Jenna shares a piece of advice for those struggling to connect with Rowan’s campus while being remote.

“Definitely reach out to professors if you want to get involved in any kind of club. I know professors who are also advisors who will usually plug in clubs at the end of class. PRSSA is looking for general members! It’s not scary, we have a speaker of the week talk to the club and you can participate if you want! I really do think it’s helpful. Just participating in any kind of Zoom club or event — I really recommend!”

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos courtesy of:
Jenna Fischer