Location: Chicago, IL
Position, Organization: Campaign Manager, Andrea Zopp for U.S. Senate
Major/Graduation: English, 2011
Why/How I came to MSU: MSU combines the Big 10 school experience with interesting, varied courses from which I learned a lot, and an amazing Student Life experience. I came into my own while at State, which is why I will forever have an affinity for it.
What I currently do: I work on political campaigns – currently I am Campaign Manager for Andrea Zopp for U.S. Senate.
What should students be prepared for upon graduation: Your success is judged differently. In school, professors care about you, and about making you a better student or person. At work, people mostly care about what value you bring to their organization, or to them personally. It’s not a bad thing; it’s just different. That’s why you need mentors who care about your development as a person.
Get as many out-of-class experiences as you can. Do as many internships as you can. Get as many mentors as you can.
What should current students take advantage of while at MSU? There are so many amazing experiences to be had. While I was a student, I joined in protests, went to SXSW, started my own company, wrote a graduate-level thesis, met some of my best friends, learned from people from dozens of countries, and discovered things I had never even knew existed. And I didn’t even take advantage of all the things MSU had to offer! For example, I never studied abroad, even though MSU has an amazing program. I had a full college experience, and explored a lot and learned a lot out of the classroom, and it was the best part of being a student for me.
How my major helped with my success: Since graduating, I’ve worked in politics and public relations, and learned that words matter a lot in this business. Being an English major has helped in many ways. For example, I can instantly recognize good writing and bad writing, and turn bad writing into good quickly. It’s very important to produce clear, quality writing quickly in my job. It’s improved the way I speak and how I communicate in all forms. That said, I firmly believe the relationships I built and the experience I gained during my internships and extra-curricular activities have driven whatever success I have had.
My advice to today’s students and soon-to-be graduates: With the caveat that advice = limited life experiences + over-generalizations, I can say what worked for me: Get as many out-of-class experiences as you can. Do as many internships as you can. Get as many mentors as you can. And don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Make sure you’re preparing for the life and career you really want, not just the one your parents want for you or the one you think you’re supposed to have. College is the best time to experiment and figure that out. Once you graduate, you often don’t have that luxury.