Getting an “adult job” can be absolutely terrifying—but it doesn’t have to be. If you can get started with internships or part-time jobs while you’re a student, you’ll have an advantage when it’s time to find that first job. In my experience, securing an on-campus position or two led directly to securing an “adult job” without being too frightening.
At a scholarship banquet just before moving to Manhattan for college, I met Mr. Jeff Morris, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at K-State. After talking with him through dinner and sharing my interests, he offered me a chance to work part-time in the Division of Communications and Marketing (DCM). I reached out to him after the banquet, and he connected me to a position. I helped write and edit K-State Today articles, completed various projects for different supervisors, and—most importantly—I made valuable connections with a variety of people at DCM.
As my interests expanded, I continued seeking out opportunities to grow. I reached out to Dr. Emily Lehning, Associate VP of Student Life and Director of New Student Services (NSS), and I began having frequent meetings with her about involvement opportunities, my interests, etc. About a year into our relationship, she offered me a position in New Student Services working in the office of the Communications Coordinator. I wrote and edited recruitment material, I worked on design and social media elements, and I perfected email etiquette. Not only did Amy Perry, the Communications Coordinator for NSS, teach me about higher-ed communications processes, but she also helped me immensely in my personal and professional development and became a dear friend.
When a position opened up in the College of Arts and Sciences for a Communications and Marketing Specialist, it seemed like a perfect opportunity. It pulled on my knowledge and experiences from my time at both DCM and at NSS. Not only did I have the right experience and skill sets, but I also had professional connections who had worked with me when I was a student—and now those professional contacts were reviewing candidates and influencing the hiring decisions.
Long story short, the part-time positions that I had during my time as a K-State student were immensely valuable. They allowed me to build a skill set that I wouldn’t have had otherwise; more importantly, these positions allowed me to build relationships with working professionals in my field.
If I could offer any student advice, it would be this: reach out! If pre-freshman Malorie had been too afraid to reach out after a scholarship banquet, or if freshman Malorie had been too prideful to ask for help getting connected, graduated and “adult” Malorie would not have a job right now.
— Malorie Wagner (B.A. ’18)
Malorie Wagner currently serves as the Communications and Marketing Specialist in K-State’s College of Arts and Sciences.