PR student Julia Sokolowski was cast on the 32nd Season of Survivor in Koh Rong, Cambodia. Sokolowski was 18 during filming, which made her the youngest woman to compete on the show. She is majoring in public relations and minoring in journalism.
Do you remember watching Survivor for the very first time?
Yes. The first time I watched Survivor was when it first aired. It was the very first season. I was five years old at the time, and it was one of the very first reality shows, so it was a huge deal. The finale of Season One had like 50,000,000 viewers—it was record breaking television. It was so exciting and it was so different, and I was hooked ever since then.
Three words you would use to describe your experience competing in Koh Rong, Cambodia?
Challenging, inspiring, and life-changing
What was your most challenging moment… physically or mentally?
In the middle of the show, one person gets exiled to a beach, which means getting removed from the tribe. That happened to me. So, I had to survive by myself for two nights and three days. There was thunder and lightning and I had no food. It was around day 15 or 16, so at that point, my body was extremely weak. Mentally, it was also my hardest place. I felt so alone. I only had a camera guy there. It was pretty miserable.
Oh no! Was that when you had to sleep alone on the ground?
What are three attributes every survivor must possess for success?
Adaptability—you have to be adaptable, you have to be flexible.
Strength—you have to have thick skin. People are going to say bad things about you online and people are going to say bad things about you to your face.
Self assurance—just knowing who you are as a person and to be confident as the person you are.
Do you believe your PR education influenced your success on the island?
Absolutely. My PR education was very important to my success on the island. Survivor is a game all about communication. It is important to know how to read different people and figure out your audience and the messages you are trying to send people, and manipulate people in some ways (I know as PR people we are not supposed to say, but it is true! It is part of our path.)
How does your past experience on the show shape your current experience in the classroom?
It makes me have an open mind going into everything. I think it definitely gave me a newfound confidence and also shaped my career path. During my time on the show, I got to work with publicists and a publicity team. It really made me want to pursue PR as my career.
Do you have any advice for students who wish to pursue another job or passion while in school?
College is a time to be super flexible and to explore different career paths and opportunities that come your way. If an opportunity approaches you, you have to take it because it could change the course of your life. It could change your major. It could change your career path. Going for those opportunities is crucial.
Shira Levin, Staff Writer
Shira Levin is a sophomore majoring in advertising in the College of Communication. Born and raised in the City of Angeles, Shira is your typical West Coast native attempting to make it through another East Coast winter. Spot her around campus in oversized sunglasses, exercise leggings and blacked-out Nikes.