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The Difference Between Education and Experience

POSTED BY prbythebook ON May 15, 2015

By Madison Smith, PR by the Book Intern.

When it comes to being a book worm, I wear the name proudly. I have always had a passion for literature which led me to pursue a degree in English. But when asked what I plan to do with my degree, I can barely hold back a sarcastic reply. In reality, translating a love for books into corporate USA is not very smooth.

Pile of books one opened, copy space

How does someone like me, looking for an outlet to focus my passion for the written word, balance my experience, my ‘blue-collar’ learning versus my formal education? What holds more value in the literary world? The answer is slightly cliché but true nonetheless: both.

The sign of a person that belongs in the literary world is someone that can keep the balance between the two. My education taught me how to write formally and how to exactly cite a source in MLA format. My education taught me details about writing, but it didn’t teach me how to write. My experience taught me to trust my skill and to back up what I have written. It taught me how to notice a great line and how to judge my audience. It taught me to be confident when I say, “I’m a writer.”

Although my English degree helps get my foot in the door for interviews, it is never what gets me the job. At the end of the day, my experience is what earns me the job. In a way, my education was part of my experience; experience in work I had never encountered, styles and uses of language I didn’t know existed. When does someone learn better than when passion is driving their thirst for that knowledge? I can’t think of a time.

I always finish a piece of writing using my skill, because it is the greatest resource I have. Although they are different, my experience and my education both helped me become the writer I am today, and I will never let one outweigh the other because both are valuable, in my book at least.


Madison Smith was our PR Intern this Spring. She is graduating with a degree in English from Texas State University. An internship at PR by the Book teaches students how to translate their education to a job in PR. Interns work closely with a publicist who trains them in client communication, media relations, research and keeping up with industry news. To inquire about our internship program contact Babs Chandrasoma here.

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