Where I Belong – EC Student Spotlight on Olivia Synan

Growing up, it seemed inevitable that Olivia Synan would end up attending Emmanuel College. The Synan family had strong roots in Franklin Springs and at Emmanuel, something she witnessed growing up.

When it came time to apply to colleges however, Emmanuel didn’t fit into Olivia’s plan. 

“I decided I wanted to go to a big school,” she remembered. “I thought that would be the best thing for me, but it turned out to be the worst.” 

After a semester at a larger university, Olivia decided to return home to Athens, Ga. and reevaluate what her next step would be. 

This was when her Emmanuel journey truly began. 

“My mom had just started working at Emmanuel in the summer of 2017 and suggested that I at least take a few classes and get some credits,” she remembered. 

Olivia thought her stay at Emmanuel would be brief, but once she stepped on campus she quickly realized that Emmanuel was where she belonged.

“The transfer process was smooth,” she said. “The Admissions team did a great job of communicating with me and making sure when I got here everything was in place including my credits that I had completed already. They also wanted to make sure I got plugged in on campus.”

An Organizational Communication major and Theatre minor, Olivia wasted no time in getting involved.

“I started off in Singers, it seemed like a good fit for me,” she said. “I loved it, but then once I started taking classes that went along with my major, I decided to take on things that advanced that part of my life.” 

Through being a part of the Campus Activities Board, a VINE Small Group leader, Campus Chaplin and several internships, Olivia has had the opportunity to meet people she might not have met otherwise. Through classes and her extracurricular involvement, Olivia also found her niche…Public Relations.

“I enjoy writing and taking photos,” she said. “I’m always making connections with people or helping others make connections, so I thought PR seemed like the right path for me.”

With graduation looming in November 2020, Olivia feels prepared for the next chapter of her life. 

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to see PR in different ways,” she said. “I understand that there is no concrete definition as to what PR looks like. I’ve had small group communication classes where I learned to communicate with groups internally and have taken PR classes where I’m taught what PR is by the book. I also had an internship with the Director of PR at the college which was the best hands-on experience that I’ve had.”

For Olivia, the small class sizes at Emmanuel have helped her remain accountable.

“I’ve experienced both,” she said. “I’ve been in a class with 250 people where no one would know if you missed. In a smaller class, people are going to know you, they’ll know when you’re not there or if you’re not participating. You have to always put in the effort and that’s helped me stay serious about my work.”

What advice would she give others looking to pursue a career in Public Relations?

“PR is not a specific thing,” she said. “It looks different at different places and is different every day. So, I’d advise others to be prepared for that. I’d also say don’t be afraid to put in the extra effort. Even if a project seems small to others, do it because you’ll see results from it.”

For Olivia, Emmanuel College wasn’t a part of the plan. However, after a semester at a larger university, she found that it was exactly where she belonged.  Throughout her time on campus, the relationships she’s built and the opportunities she’s had have reinforced her feeling that Emmanuel was the right decision for her, and she’s glad to have stuck to her roots.