High School. As mentioned in my Biography, going to Bishop Manogue Catholic High School was the best gift my parents ever gave me. Not only was it an excellent education, it was a life-changing experience. I was fortunate to learn from amazingly gifted faculty and staff and was surrounded by some of the best and brightest students as my peers. I always had a love for academics and Bishop Manogue catapulted that. I learned at a very high level and was able to work on projects that allowed me to master concepts my young brain could only really begin to process on its own. It was not just the coursework that propelled me while I was in high school; I was involved in many extra curricular activities. I started with pre-season soccer my freshman year, I went on to try cheerleading my sophomore year, took choir both years and sang in a very small group at each school mass and assembly. My sophomore year took on a whole new level of significance when I ran for Sophomore Class Secretary. I was elected and soon found my love for leadership. I continued on as Junior Class Secretary and ran for Student Body Secretary my senior year. I even became the secretary of my school’s chapter in the National Honor Society! Basically, if anyone needed a veteran secretary at the high school level, they got me. Each year I took on more responsibility and gained more knowledge while in leadership than I could have ever learned in a typical classroom. I believe leadership was where I found my shine, my confidence and my skill set. I worked part-time in high school, so my life felt very well-rounded between work, my classes and my extracurriculars. I went for straight A’s my senior year and graduated with my Diploma and a stellar GPA in June 2009.
College. I began my higher education career that fall in my hometown at the University of Nevada, Reno. I knew my parents had already paid for my tuition with a pre-paid college fund, so classes were covered financially. (This was the second best gift from my parents, as also mentioned in my Biography.) I was also awarded scholarships for staying in-state and having good grades, but I have always been a hard worker and covering my own expenses was important to me. I got a great part-time job on campus and worked in retail as well. It was pretty much everything I had thought it would be, but since I commuted from my parents house to and from school everyday, I felt like I had missed out on the social scene of those students who were living on campus. I decided to pledge a sorority in the beginning of my sophomore year. Recruitment was taxing, but the payoff was leaps and bounds beyond worth it. I couldn’t have been any happier to be a Delta Delta Delta by the Fall 2010 semester. As any college sophomore would, I explored three different academic paths before finally settling on Psychology as my major in my junior year. I added Human Development and Family Studies as my minor and finished out the rest of my college experience with the dream of going to graduate school to be a Marriage and Family Therapist. That lasted until about two months before I was ready to walk the stage. I realized that deep down inside me, my dreams had changed, my vision was different and my heart yearned for something else. I had a feeling I knew what that something else could be, but I was so close to having a degree that I couldn’t put myself through the agony of backtracking or starting over again. I walked that stage with my head held high in May 2013. However, I knew I had some soul searching to do before I was going to set down any career path.
Pause. After graduation, I decided it would be best for me to take a year off from school. Everyone told me, “You better just keep going because it is so hard to go back to school once you are out of it.” That may have been true for many others, but it was not the case for me. I knew I wanted a Master’s Degree more than anything else in my life, but I would have been a fool if I had continued down a path that I wasn’t sold on or happy with. I found myself that year through many tough lessons, life experiences and different jobs with diverse backgrounds. What I learned the most from it all was to love myself and never stop until I found what made me happy. I continued to pursue that little idea I had at the very end of my senior year and I did so in very small doses. Eventually, I was able to land a full-time job back on campus. I knew that gettig that job was the first step in getting back into school and pursuing a graduate degree. Ironically, the job was in the Graduate School Dean’s Office. I mean, this was fate! Or a very, very telling coincidence.
Now go for it. In Spring 2014, I decided it was time to get my foot in the door of the industry I was seeking and made an appointment to meet with the Graduate Director at the Reynolds School of Journalism. I told Dr. Mensing my crazy story of how I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the public relations industry and that I thought I could hack it if I could just get into a program that would support me. Needless to say, I believed in myself and that belief must have been contagious because after only one meeting, I had a sneaking suspicion that she believed in me, too. I got straight to work on my writing samples. I knew I could write. I was confident in my voice. I just needed to tell my story and flesh it all out in a way that an admissions committee would understand. It took about seven drafts and a little over three weeks, but when it was done, that Letter of Intent was the closest thing I had to a lifeline in my infant stages of this new world I was about to enter. Journalism was slowly becoming less of a dream and more of a reality. I gathered up a creative writing sample and research paper from previous coursework during my senior year, took the GRE, filled out the application and waited for a response. I waited until I got a letter addressed to myself from the Reynolds School and it was dated the day after my 23rd birthday, June 18, 2014. I was ACCEPTED! And naturally, also ecstatic. I probably cried and laughed at the same time. It was a moment I will never forget. How could this Psych major who had no experience in Journalism and wasn’t even published get into a graduate program of this caliber?! I had one answer: Heart. I knew what I wanted. I went after it with everyhing I had. It had all paid off. And thank goodness for my ability to write! That Letter of Intent may or may not be framed somewhere.
Graduate School. Fall 2014 came and I was registered and ready to take on this graduate degree! I was still working full time in the Dean’s Office. I still had a second job. How I thought I was going to manage it all is beyond me. It was a grueling semester. I left my second job to focus on school about half way through it. About a week later, we had some speakers come into our writing class. They were Public Relations professionals in the flesh. I immediately knew that they were my type of people. I ended up running into them while I was out and about later that month and they offered to meet me for coffee in the coming week. Of course, I said yes. To make a long story short, there were many encounters that followed that coffee date and my world slowly became intertwined with theirs. By the end of December, they were offering me an internship. I left my full-time position at the university in January 2015 and started the internship the same week as the start of my Spring 2015 semester. I made it through the second semester with high grades, my required practicum course completed and an internship experience of a lifetime. My internship concluded the last week of May 2015.
Currently. I am now awaiting my second year of graduate school and am eager for the opportunities that lie ahead. I expect to graduate with my Master’s Degree in May 2016.