Samuel F Doucette
Nice to meet you through GovLoop! I'm a former Air Force PAQ intern myself (manpower is my career field) but not prior military (unlike you). Prior to coming on board in 1997, pretty much all I knew about the military was through Tom Clancy novels. 🙂 I drank from the firehose and the rest became history.
While I am not a Public Affairs professional, what I would do is 1) get to know your fellow PAQs no matter the career field but especially within your career field; 2) accept any assignment as a learning opportunity even if you can't immediately see the point; 3) continue to seek training and education opportunities such as PME where places like Squadron Officer College have slots for PAQs; and 4) pursue a Master's degree of some kind related to your career field if PA is what you want to keep doing.
Hanscom AFB MA