What They Don’t Tell You About Life After College

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, College, Happiness, Olivia

~ by Olivia Humphreys

“College will be the best years of your life!”

It’s a common phrase anyone who has spent one day in college has heard before. As graduation and the threat of becoming a true adult stares you in the face, you begin to worry that this statement is true. The days of sleeping in, taking random naps in the middle of the day and spending afternoons celebrating Thirsty Thursday are quickly waning.

All that you have to look forward to now is working for the rest of your life and trying to climb the corporate ladder. Gross.

Or is it?

As a person who has successfully survived, and thrived, in my first year post-college, I can honestly say that being in the workforce is a 1000 times better than being in college.

For starters, there’s no homework or tests. I still have several friends finishing up their college careers, and do not envy them even a little when they complain about studying or writing papers.

You also get your evenings back. I’m fortunate that my current position allows me to leave work at work. This means I’m able to disconnect and enjoy my evenings how I want; something I rarely had the luxury of doing in college since I was always worried about my next assignment.

Terrible group projects are a thing of the past (if you’re lucky). This isn’t to say I don’t have group projects at work — I most certainly do! But my boss has done an amazing job of hiring fun motivated people that prove to me not all group work is derived from the devil. In fact, my job is super fun.

It’s hard not to have fun at work when you have such great coworkers and get to attend cool events.

Another perk is that you get to become a “real person.” This is how my best friend, who is still an undergrad, refers to me now. But it actually makes a lot of sense. Obviously, I have adult responsibilities like paying for food, rent, utilities, etc., but this also means I’m viewed as an expert in my field by students and my boss.

At CCPE, there are only three of us and I’m the only one with a marketing and PR background. This means, even though my job title is only outreach coordinator, I’m treated as an outreach director because I’m literally the only person who has marketing training. I’m the point person for all things regarding outreach and communication; something I never would have expected in my first year post-grad.

Post-college life has also been great because I’ve been able to read for fun again. In college, I was assigned a ridiculous amount of reading. This actually led me to despise it, so I very rarely read for fun while in school. Now that I’m not required to read 80 pages every night, I’ve been able to rediscover my passion for reading and try to read a little in the evenings.

There are also a million things you can do when you graduate from college that you never would have had time for before. These are some of my biggest accomplishments in the last year, in no particular order:

  • Became a writer for Thrivers!
  • Adopted an adorable dog, Flora!
  • Took a road trip to Texas, where I got engaged!
  • Officially launched my freelance wedding videography business, LivFree Videography.
  • Grown professionally in more ways than I can even count!

While there are a number of truly fantastic pros to being a “real adult,” there is one con. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with money.

Honestly, it’s how other people sometimes view you because of your age. I’m fortunate/cursed in that I look younger than I am. At almost every event I’ve been to since graduating, I’ve been asked if I’m a student. In some people’s defense, I do work on campus quite a bit.

This normally isn’t an issue, but there can be times when it gets frustrating. For example, as my team walked into a luncheon this winter, an elderly gentlemen greeted my entire team with an enthusiastic and somewhat condescending, “Hey kids!” Granted, we are all under 30, but two of my coworkers have a Master’s and one even has a child!

In another instance, I overheard two ladies we share an office space with, talking about me one day. “She’s just too cute,” they said as I was leaving the room.

While these aren’t the most disparaging comments ever, they remind me that people sometimes view young professionals as, well, young and cute and not necessarily mature competent adults.

The best thing to do with comments like these is to just smile and move on. Don’t let them discourage you. Instead, let it serve as a gentle reminder that respect is often earned with experience.

At the end of the day, college was great. But being a real adult is the best.

by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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Don’t Let The Big Dogs Scare You

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communications, Interview, Olivia, Public Relations, Skills, Uncategorized

by Olivia Humphreys ~

A Tale about Communication, Adoption and The NFL

My boyfriend and I recently adopted the world’s sweetest dog, Flora, from the Clay County Humane Society. According to the shelter, she is a lab/terrier mix, almost two years old, and was brought in as a stray by the police.

She’s actually as sweet as she looks!
She’s actually as sweet as she looks!

Now that we’ve had Flora for a few months, we know what she likes and what she doesn’t like.

What she likes: snuggling, terrorizing the cat, chewing on bones and sticks, Puggles (her best friend at the dog park is a Puggle named Roxy), and playing chase and wrestling with small dogs.

You don’t even have to be sitting down for her to want to snuggle.
You don’t even have to be sitting down for her to want to snuggle.

What she doesn’t like: being left at home, retrieving balls, being introduced to new people, when new people try to pet her, and big dogs.

For the most part, she gets along just fine with bigger dogs. But about once a month, typically when she’s chasing a Puggle, a few big dogs will start to join in the fun and Flora’s reaction is to become incredibly submissive, roll over and cower.

When this happens, the other dogs will pick up on her energy, begin nipping at her and refuse to let her run away. There’s typically a lot of barking, yelping, teeth baring, and people trying to corral their dogs when this happens.

So far, she’s come out of each attack unscathed physically. Mentally, she’s set back a few weeks and it takes a lot of coaxing and interactions with nice big dogs to get her comfortable with them again.

So at this point, you’re probably like, this is a nice story, but what does this have to do with me?

If you’re a person who can go through life completely confident in every social situation you’re ever in, then absolutely nothing. You can stop reading now because you probably won’t learn anything else.

But if you’re like the rest of the world, chances are there are situations that make you wish you could cower and run away to your happy place.

For a lot of people, this situation occurs when you do something Flora doesn’t like to do either: meet new people for the first time.

Going up and talking to someone is incredibly terrifying. Trust me, I know. But if you’re a person working in the communication industry, you have to learn how to overcome it in order to start networking.

There’s one experience that helped me overcome my fear of talking to people, and it didn’t happen in college. It happened at Super Bowl Media Day in 2012, when I was a senior in high school.

Me with the other contest winners.
Me with the other contest winners.

I won a competition for high school sports journalists that enabled me to go to Super Bowl Media Day. I assumed it would be set up like a regular press conference and I would sit there and watch all of these professional journalists interview Tom Brady and Eli Manning and a few of the other players and coaches.

Man, was I wrong.

Basically, the event takes place on the entire field. There are booths set up for the star players to sit in and everyone else on the team wanders around the field with all of the journalists.

Andre Brown from the NY Giants
Andre Brown from the NY Giants.

So, picture this in your head. I’m an 18-year-old tiny girl surrounded by these giant football players, a lot of them stars, and I can just walk right up to any of them and start talking to them.

 

Brian Waters from the NE Patriots in one of the special booths
Brian Waters from the NE Patriots in one of the special booths.

Much like Flora is now, I was a terrier in a pen full of German Shepherds, Great Danes and Rottweilers.

It was positively terrifying.

Until I realized one extremely important detail: they were people, just like me.

They were all just as excited to be there as I was and were so happy to talk to me. You can see how excited and friendly they were in the video I made for my internship at D3TV at DePauw University.*

Danny Woodhead may have been the only player on the field who was my size
Danny Woodhead may have been the only player on the field who was my size.

Although I made a fool of myself by asking absurd questions the lesson learned that day is the one that has been the most valuable to me in my career as a public relations professional. I understand that not everyone can go to Super Bowl Media Day and interview football players to get over their fear of talking to people. But for anyone in the communications industry, it is so incredibly vital to be able to talk to anyone about anything at anytime.

And when you start to see people as actual people and not their titles, it makes it substantially easier to do that.

Yes, I still get butterflies in my stomach sometimes when I talk to “important” people, but it doesn’t ever stop me from actually talking to them. It definitely takes a while to get comfortable just walking up to people and talking to them, but don’t be like Flora and let bad experiences discourage you or set you back.

So you have a choice, continue to be the terrier that cowers and only ever plays with Puggles, or be the terrier that learns to run with all of the dogs at the dog park.

*You can also read about my experience at Super Bowl Media Day here.

 

flora

 

by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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Embracing My Ruby Slipper Syndrome

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Career Change, Happiness, Olivia, Public Relations

When I was in second grade I made my acting debut as a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz. I used to watch the movie all of the time when I younger. I especially loved the end when Judy Garland’s Dorothy finally made it home and realized she had been having lucid dreams.

 I’m in the bottom right with the other Lullaby League girls. I distinctly remember singing Happy Birthday for my audition piece.
I’m in the bottom right with the other Lullaby League girls. I distinctly remember singing Happy Birthday for my audition piece.

As the years went by and my focus shifted away from musical theater and onto school, the Wizard of Oz drifted from my radar.

That is, until the other day, when I learned about the Ruby Slipper Syndrome in Kivi Leroux Miller’s Nonprofit Marketing Guide email newsletter.

You can’t see it, but we sprayed an unbelievable amount of glitter on our hair and bodies. I’m pretty sure I sparkled in the sun for three years after the final curtain call.
You can’t see it, but we sprayed an unbelievable amount of glitter on our hair and bodies. I’m pretty sure I sparkled in the sun for three years after the final curtain call.

The premise is that you seek out what you think you want in life, only to realize you actually want what you’ve had all along. So basically, you’re Dorothy trying to get away from your family and the evil woman who wants to take your dog, only to realize “there’s no place like home.”

Ruby Slipper Syndrome is not to be confused with fearing change. I full heartedly embrace change and strongly encourage you to as well. It will make your life substantially easier, I promise.

Ruby Slipper Syndrome focuses more on realizing you already have what you need in life to be happy. Not that you’re pursuing something because it’s easier and less scary.

To some degree, this is my life in a nutshell. Minus the wicked woman, a dog that bites and all of the lucid dreams.

I started college dead set on being a sports broadcaster. I was going to be the next Erin Andrews or Sage Steele. I had everything going for me and no reason not to follow through.

Me at the 2012 Super Bowl Media Day interviewing Giants punter, Steve Weatherford, who happens to be one of my best friend’s cousins.
Me at the 2012 Super Bowl Media Day interviewing Giants punter, Steve Weatherford, who happens to be one of my best friend’s cousins.

Until I started learning more about the career. I was told by countless professional women in the field I would have to give up my job, my family, my friends, holidays, weekends, and basically everything I’ve ever cared about.

As I became more immersed, I realized they were right. It forced to step back during my sophomore year of college and think about what I valued most.

I grew up in a close-knit family. My entire immediate family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – live within 30 minutes of my childhood home. My parents worked from 8-5 on the weekdays and half day on Saturday so I always knew I would see them on the weekends. Fishing trips with dad, shopping with mom, watching musicals with my grandparents, and volunteering with my aunt filled my childhood days.

How could I not have had a phenomenal childhood? I had a Barbie comforter for Pete’s sake!
How could I not have had a phenomenal childhood? I had a Barbie comforter for Pete’s sake!

And I loved every minute of it. I’m extremely grateful I had all of those opportunities, because I know most people don’t.

For four years I dreamed of being a sports broadcaster and was so close to actually doing it. I loved sports, writing and acting. It was the perfect combination of all three. But what good would that be if I didn’t have friends or family to come home to every night and share in my success?

In the months leading up to my junior year, I decided to make a career change. I switched to public relations. I knew the lifestyle would be more conducive to my building the life I actually wanted for my future children, which closely mirrors my own childhood.

Now I have an 8-5 job, the weekends off, plenty of friends, a beautiful cat and dog, a fantastic boyfriend and a great relationship with my family, who is only an hour away.

So am I victim of Ruby Slipper Syndrome? Yes, but I’m okay with that because I’m doing what I want to in life.

And doing what you want and surrounding yourself with caring people who love you is how you will thrive in your career, relationships and life.

by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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The Better Of Two Goods

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communication, Experience, Internship, Interview, Job, Nonprofit, Olivia, Public Relations, Success

It was the last semester of my college career, and I found myself in an interesting predicament. I had to decide, quickly, between two dream jobs. But first, let’s back up and figure out how I got to that point.

I started my college career wanting to be a sports broadcaster. I had an extensive background in theater, was an avid sports fan and a great writer. I even created a sports broadcasting club in my high school, the Future Broadcaster’s Initiative, or FBI for short (yes, that was intentional).

After spending the first two years of college getting my feet wet at internships with USA Track & Field and Run-Fast in London, England, I realized the sports life was not for me. My realization of this came after talking with several women in the field who told me, “You give up your weekends, holidays, family, friends and basically life. But I promise it’s all worth it!”

Or not.

I am a relationship-focused person. I learned at an early age that relationships are some of our most valuable assets in life, and I wasn’t about to ruin those just to cover some sweaty guys who chase a ball around a field.

So, I changed my course of action my junior year. Instead of a journalism degree with a specialization in sports and broadcasting, I picked up a specialization in public relations. This switch, amazingly, didn’t force me to graduate any later than I had planned, and I actually could have graduated a semester early if I wanted. But I didn’t, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

By the spring semester of my senior year, I had all but one of my required courses completed, and I was free to take a number of electives that greatly enhanced my skill sets and made me a more competent public relations practitioner.

With only three months left in school, I needed a job. I decided to stay in Bloomington for two reasons. The first is because my boyfriend of two and half years was graduating with a degree in biology, and he decided to stay in Bloomington and take a gap year before grad school and work in a lab on campus. The second is because I love Bloomington as a town and had absolutely no desire to move to a huge city where all of the PR agency jobs are. I’m a country girl, remember? I like clean air and nature.

Me and my boyfriend Seth.
Me and my boyfriend Seth.

So, I began my job search using LinkedIn and a number of other websites, which actually worked surprisingly well. I applied to approximately 10 jobs, heard back a solid no from about five of them, interviewed with three, never heard back from one*, and politely declined another interview because the company’s Glassdoor ratings were absolutely abysmal.**

My first interview went okay, but I definitely didn’t leave feeling super confident about it, and I never heard back from the company. My second and third interviews were much better, which led me to my predicament.

One job was with Centerstone working on a grant. I’ll honestly admit that the night before the interview, I was looking over the job description again and turned to my boyfriend and told him I had made a terrible mistake and didn’t think I was right for the job because it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to do. In retrospect this is really funny. But I’ll save that whole story for another blog post.

The interview turned out to be fantastic, it was just the job description that was bad, and I was told I would hear back in about a week. I interviewed on a Friday and was called back on Tuesday with an offer.

Which was great, except it also wasn’t.

You see, I had interviewed with another nonprofit organization on Monday that I knew would be a great opportunity, but I was still waiting to hear back from them. I asked the guy at Centerstone for a week to think about things, and then panicked and emailed my Career Success in PR professor, Maria Heslin, for advice on what to do. I was still waiting to hear back from the other organization, and didn’t expect an answer for a few days.

To make a long story short, the other organization finally emailed me on Thursday asking for a second interview, but by then I had made up my mind thanks to my handy pros and cons list. I decided to work for Centerstone on the Community Capacity for Prevention and Education (CCPE) Grant, because the only con I could come up with was that I may not have a window in my office. Obviously, as the picture below points out, I was so very wrong.

: I have four full length windows in my office! Just look at all that natural light!
I have four full length windows in my office! Just look at all that natural light!

In a situation where there was no wrong choice, I know I made the better one for me personally because I absolutely love coming to work. Every single day.

My first day of work photo I took for my mom.
My first day of work photo I took for my mom.

* If you are a hiring manager, at least have the decency to email those you interview and tell them if you want them or not. It’s the polite thing to do. Also, kudos to Cook and Oliver Winery for doing that already.

** If you’re a hiring manager and not checking your company’s Glassdoor rating, you’re making a huge mistake, because people take those reviews seriously.

 

by Olivia Humphreys | oliviahumphreys4@gmail.com | LinkedIn | @ohumphreys4

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