Editor’s Note: During the YouToo Social Media Conference on April 10 at Kent State University, Ben Brugler and Ryan Collins challenged the student attendees: Send us your best recaps for a takeover of our Microbrew blog, a role typically reserved for AKHIA interns. Kent State University freshman Charleah Trombitas, a public relations major, is featured today.

My first exposure to the YouToo Social Media Conference was through PRSSA Kent’s student chair for the conference. She made it seem like a way to gain experience, so I joined the student committee. I was not sure what to expect, but very sure I would be one overwhelmed freshman who had gotten herself in WAY over her head. A networking event, with professionals everywhere, and I was going to be helping to promote it? Though I was nervous, as time passed and I helped spread the word, my nerves turned into excitement. I realized that YouToo was going to be a fulfilling experience for everyone involved.

Booklet and notepad at the YouToo Social Media Conference

All of the speakers I had the privilege of listening to were so energetic and inspiring. As a student and aspiring professional, I learned a great deal that will help in my studies.

Mark W. Smith, editor for mobile web at The Washington Post, gave a thought-provoking keynote filled with social media tips. Knowing that social media is such a great tool with a global reach, I was ready to learn how to have a better social media presence.

Gini Dietrich, the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, gave another keynote referencing her book “Spin Sucks.” The passion in her voice when speaking about her profession was moving to me. I haven’t stopped thinking about this quote from Gini: “Short-term success does NOT equal long-term happiness.” That is advice not only to guide my future profession but also apply to my daily life! Gini also talked about the perception that PR professionals are unethical, and she spoke about how that needs to change. Then and there, I decided I would strive to be a student and future professional who proves that notion wrong.

The whole day, I was thinking about how I could apply what I learned and all of the tips that were given. Then Ben Brugler, AKHIA’s president, entered the room.

Ben asked a room filled with students about our personal strengths and what was special about each one of us. At first, I didn’t know what to say! I realized that a lot of times I am focusing only on how to manage my time or complete this assignment or that project. I need to take more time to think about me and who I really am. I believe that if I start recognizing my strengths, passions and weaknesses, it will help in my career and all areas of my life.

I will never forget all I learned during my first YouToo experience. I can’t imagine how awesome next year’s conference will be! I don’t want to wait a whole year to go back!