Recently I interviewed a recent graduate from Waynesburg University’s Department of Communication, Nick Farrell. Farrell graduated in 2015 with a degree in communication, focusing on sports broadcasting and sports information, and he now works as Sports Director for a TV station in Morgantown. I was given this awesome opportunity to write a profile on Farrell to use for Department’s website—to show potential and current students how successful they can be with some hard work and a Waynesburg education.
I learned so much from that 30-minute conversation over the phone. Farrell was excited to be interviewed, and he answered all of my questions with enthusiasm. Before we had even finished talking, I was formulating new ideas in my head of how I could copy him somehow; boost my résumé, take full advantage of my time at Waynesburg. I began to wonder, “Why isn’t everybody doing this?”
So, without further ado, here are some reasons why you should take advantage of your school’s alumni network:
They’ve been there, done that.
What was so great about talking with Farrell is I knew most of the people he was referencing personally—professors, current students, etc. He had also been executive editor of The Yellow Jacket newspaper, which I currently work for, so we have a lot of the same interests and experiences.
The only difference is that Farrell has completed the process—he survived these terribly stressful four years and came out the other side with a job offer. Whatever he did, he did it right. As a current student, it only makes sense for me to find out that secret ingredient—the motto or trick or magic potion or what have you—that can help me become successful.
You will network in the process.
What’s that called when you build professional contacts and connections, and stay in touch with them, in hopes of maybe gaining a job offer in the future? Oh yeah, networking! We, as public relations majors, love it.
Reaching out to your school’s alumni to get to know them and ask them questions is an excellent way to do that. It shows them that you are passionate and proactive about your field, and they will keep that in mind if something opens up in their place of employment.
You will gain confidence.
When I talked to Farrell, he was all about the encouragement, and I think must alumni are the same way. They love to hear about the great things their alma mater is up to, and they love to see the opportunities students have as it progresses.
Alumni, if you keep in touch with them, can become like your cheerleaders. They are rooting for you to be successful, giving you tips and advice to make it happen. We all need that extra push every once in a while.
So, take advantage of your school’s alumni. They do not cease to exist the second they graduate: they are still there, and they are more helpful than ever before.
Teghan Simonton is a sophomore with a dual major in public relations and journalism. She serves as the publicity chair for Waynesburg PRSSA and as managing editor for the award-winning Yellow Jacket student newspaper. She is an active member of Red Brick Communications and the Society of Professional Journalists. In her free time, Teghan is a member of the cross country and track teams.