Department of English

O'Dowd Hall, Room 544
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3700
fax: (248) 370-4429

Three people looking at a notebook, standing in a room with gray lockers and file boxes.

Internships and Career Resources

Internships offer students valuable skills and work experience in career paths for English, creative writing, and film majors. Most students enjoy and learn from their internship experience; they also find that in this economic market, the experience they gain from interning gives them an edge that can make a difference when they are up against stiff competition for jobs.


List of Available Internships

Internships for credit are available during fall, winter, and summer semesters. To receive credit, students must register for ENG 4950 and fill out online forms. For Film Studies and Production, please contact Adam Gould, who is the Film Internship Coordinator; you must register for FLM 4930. If you have any questions for English and Creative Writing Internships, please contact one of the following internship coordinators:  

English Major Internship Coordinator: Rachel Smydra

Creative Writing Internship Coordinator: Annie Gilson

ENG 4950 Internship Course Description: Experience in appropriate work position at an approved site, correlated with directed study assignments, during the fall, winter, or summer semester.  In the semester prior to enrollment, the student will plan the internship in conjunction with the Internship Coordinator and with the approval of the department chair. Students are required to email the Internship Coordinator every week during the semester they intern, and also to turn in a final paper, due the Friday of the last week of classes. May be repeated once in a different setting for elective credit only.

Prerequisites: 16 credits in English, of which at least 8 must be at the 300-400 level, and permission of the instructor and the department chair.

NOTE: This course does not count as a 400-level seminar course, which is the required capstone course for all English Majors.

Student Internship Responsibilities

You are required to perform the duties included in your internship job description. If needed, please ask your faculty and on-site mentors for clarification. Students are required to work 10-20 hours to receive credit. Aside from faithfully reporting for work and performing your duties, you have other responsibilities during the internship period as well. You are required to maintain contact with your faculty mentor, which consists of sending weekly emails that describe in a detailed summary the work you completed that week and confirm your presence at the internship site. You must submit a final 10-15 page paper that describes your experiences as an intern.

OU English and Creative Writing Alumni Job Placements

Email Rachel Smydra to request an internship application.

Student Organizations

Oakland University’s English Department supports several student organizations, allowing emerging professionals to network and gain hands-on experience in conjunction with their studies. Each organization blazes the trail for students to tailor their studies into a range of career pathways.

OU Creative Writing Club
The vibrant OU Creative Writing Club advised by Professor Kathy Pfeiffer ( gives students a biweekly meeting place to discuss their work and the work of writers who inspire them, and to share ideas that can help strengthen the program. Join us on Facebook too!

The Oakland Arts Review (The OAR)
OAR is a national and international literary journal for undergraduates put out by the creative writing  program. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, plays and screenplays, poetry, comics, and visual arts.  Students can get involved by taking CW 3800: Literary Editing and Publishing, and may intern as  editors and readers. Contact Professor McCarty ( for more information.

Student Video Productions
SVP is a student organization that assists Video Services with their production needs. Students of any major may join the Student Video Club and receive training on industry standard, professional production equipment. Members may crew on staff-produced programming or may work to develop their own original program ideas. Contact SVP (

English Alumni Mentoring Program

Since the fall of 2012, the English, Creative Writing and Film Department has paired up English alums with English major juniors and seniors to help students make the transition from school to career.

Alum mentors and their mentees decide how they wish to communicate: some only communicate via email or Facebook; others meet for coffee, and some mentors bring students to their workplace to give students a glimpse of their working lives. There is no one single way to mentor a student; most important of all for the student is getting to talk to someone who has graduated from our program and gone on to have a successful career.

Every year, the English, Creative Writing and Film Department Alumni Program hosts a mixer for alums and students during the OU Homecoming weekend. Included are people who have been involved in the mentoring program. We encourage all students (and alums!) to attend. It's a great way to meet new people in English and Creative Writing and to catch up with old friends. We have mentors who graduated 30 years ago, and mentors who graduated only last year. Last year’s graduates were mentees themselves and now are eager to give back to others.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or a mentee, please email Professor Annie Gilson. Let her know what year you graduated or will graduate, and the different positions you have held over the course of your career, or the career(s) you’re interested in exploring. She will pair you up with someone whose interests match up with yours.

The English, Creative Writing and Film Department looks forward to welcoming you back!

Alumni Mentor Guidelines

Note: Be sure to go to the Career Center to learn about writing resumes, doing interviews, cover letters, etc. OU provides a lot of services to get you prepared for the job search. They will even do mock interviews for you!

First of all, be respectful of your mentors. They are volunteering to help you with your job search. But don’t be intimidated by them. They were students here at OU, majoring in English and Creative Writing just like you. They want to help you; that’s why they’ve volunteered to help you. They WANT to help you!

Here are some tips:

Do immediately send them an introductory email.

Do ask them how they would prefer to communicate.

Do find out how much time they have available and how often they want to communicate. Be respectful of their time constraints.

Do not blow them off. If a mentor takes the time to write you, but you feel confused or lost or strapped for time, or whatever, write them and tell them that. Silence from you equals disinterest in their minds. Be prompt and professional. Some mentors have helped their mentees get jobs!

No matter what is going on in your life, do not just leave them hanging. It’s rude and it reflects badly on the program. Some former students blew off their mentors and as a result their mentors quit the program. So stay in touch!

However, do remember that, though they’ve volunteered for this program, they don’t have a lot of spare time. (Who does?) So don’t write them really long emails, unless they signal that this is ok with them. Also, don’t expect a fast turn-around in response to your communications. If two weeks have gone by since you’ve written them, send a polite follow-up email saying that you know they’re busy and asking if they still have time to work with you.

When you communicate:

You should do some list making. What kinds of questions do you have about your preferred career? The Career Center can help you draw up a list of useful questions. Again: Be sure to go to there to learn about interviews, cover letters, etc. OU provides a lot of services to get you prepared for the job search.

Navigating the Next Steps Videos

>> There are 17 participants in the meeting. This meeting is being recorded.

>> Well, I wanted to welcome you to the career night, we've got a pretty good evening planned for you to get some information about internships and resources at OU, and we've got four alums who were once in your positions who will be sharing their stories this evening. We're going to get started talking a little bit about internships and what the department offers you as far as opportunities and so forth. I'm going to share my screen, my name is Rachel Smydra, and I'm in the English department, and Annie Gilson is my co-host tonight and she will be talking a little bit about the Creative Writing Program and opportunities there as well, so let me just get the sun. Sorry, we're a little discombobulated because of these technical issues.

One of the things that you can do is you can visit our page on the website and you'll see here that it lists a number of opportunities for you to take a look at, you can look at the internship student organizations, career resources, and our English alumni mentoring program and our navigating the next step video, so I just wanted to talk briefly about these categories a moment. The internships are something that you can look at now, later whenever you want to. They give you a list of all the partners that you have internships with. Some people have done internships recently, some of these have been on here for a while. They are all internships that provide enough substance and so forth for you to use these as experiences for the 4950 class if you wanted to. But these are also opportunities for you to just take a look at and foresee yourself. You have a couple of different options with internships. You can obviously do one anytime in your career at Oakland University and you can reach out to Annie or myself and ask those contact information, we'll be gladly able to provide that for you. Or you can just click on the websites themselves and explore whether or not there's any current opportunities for you to investigate and pursue, so we're always willing to help out whether you want to do an internship for a class, or whether you wanted to pursue something on your own. If you decide to do an internship for a class which is English 4950, and I think it's a different number, it's CW 4954 creative writing majors. Then that takes out a little bit of a different situation in that you'll have to meet some requirements as far as length and filling out some paperwork and creating or completing a paper and possibly some assignments and so forth throughout the semester. If you are interested in that, you'll definitely want to reach out to one of us to ask some additional questions and find out some deadlines about when you need to have your internship experience organized and ready to start and so forth for semester. That you can check in with us at anytime, you can do an internship in the summer, you can do it in the fall, in the winter, so it's up to you when it fits in your schedule the best.

The navigating the next step video, we tried to load these after each event and so you'll be able to see tonight's event up here in a couple of weeks, but you could also go back and take a look at these older videos. There's just some really good information on these as far as opportunities and skills and different things that you should try to do while you're at Oakland University as an undergraduate to prepare yourself for entering the workforce after you graduate. We have alums come back every time we do this program. You're going to get some valuable insight tonight from our participants, but you could also go back and take a look at these videos as well, so that's a good opportunity for you to just listen and get a breath of experience before you graduate.

What we're going to do next, we'll just give you a little bit of a brief overview for tonight. I hope Kelly can hear us, can you?

>> Yes, if you can hear me, I can hear you all just fine. I dialed in via my phone because I'm not sure what's happening with Zoom though.

>> Kelly Donor going to talk for a few minutes, she's a director in the career and life design center and I don t think her text is going to work, so it's mostly her talking and you can always follow up with her and meet with her and so forth and go over some of these resources that she mentions tonight. Go ahead, Kelly.

>> Absolutely. Rachel, if you could enable the screen-sharing in the Zoom, I can share my screen.

>> There you go. 

>> As Rachel mentioned, my name is Kelly Donor, and I am with the career and life design center on campus and what I'd really like to talk to you about today, give me just one moment here to make sure that I am. Stop sharing for just a moment and let me get to the right place. If you excuse me for one moment, I closed out of a lot of different things in hopes of being able to properly connect through my chat the proper way, so give me just one second to pull all of you up to what I'm attempting to share and then I'll do that.

One moment please.

Hopefully all of you can see my slide deck, can I get a confirmation? We're making progress here, so sorry for the technical difficulties today. I want to talk with you a little bit about the Career and Life Design Center, specifically through the lens of how we are a resource to students in the English and creative writing programs and of course, we assist alumni as well. Our department is what used to be called Crew Services, and rest assured that many of the things that were cornerstone of our services when our title was Crew Services are still ever-present in our Career and Life Design Center.

Essentially, we do all of those things and more, if you will. We are all about helping students explore, discover, and connect and so with that, we are really leaning in queue, if you think about a English major or a creative major, I'm going to venture a very safe guess here that you all are taking classes with students that you're very passionate about, that you enjoy writing, you're probably really good at writing and those are wonderful, irreplaceable skills that are applicable in just about any industry and any job that you have.

Ultimately, in the Career and Life Design Center, it is really our mission and the purpose of our work to help students really be able to explore what they can do with their degree. Now, Rachel, just a few minutes ago, was talking about some resources that are available on the English department website to help with that, and this is also something that in conjunction with the wonderful faculty in your program that are putting on today's events, the Career and Life Design Center can assist you with. We have resources that are really intentionally out there to help students explore. We have assessment tool. We work very hard to be able to help students establish industry connections. For example, if you wanted to know what might be a possibility with your English jury and how you might use it in a particular industry, we have the ability to connect you with industry professionals so that you can have what I'll call an informational interview with them and learn more about their day to day in their operation. That's certainly something that we do in our Career and Life Design Center. Ways that you can engage with us. One of the things that you can do that, I think, is a very popular thing, students often come to us hoping for resume advice. In order to get resume advice from us, you never need an appointment. You can drop in as the inspiration strikes you. You can come in with no resume at all, or you can come in with a resume that you've been working on. If you bring in a resume that you've been working on or you've used for previous opportunities, we have some really interesting technology that our students have just been raving about this semester that is new to the suite of services that we have available. We use a software called Big Interview. Big Interview will allow you to scan in your resume and it gives you feedback that is aligned with what employers will ultimately sync or effect when they see your resume. It gives you a gold, silver or bronze rating based upon about how employers would evaluate your resume. What the AI is powered by, what the artificial intelligence is powered by is the same technologies that equip applicant tracking systems, which most companies use in order to collect resumes nowadays. If you scan your resume in, it looks for some really critically important thing. I would venture a guess here and say something that I think is a fairly bold statement but it's true, as it relates to the resume for the students that are on this call, your resumes are a work sample for you. They've got to be well written, they've got to show how you can concisely articulate and create a brand for yourself and be able to execute that brand and articulate that brand and the written word that's very important for you because as it relates to how employers will view your resumes, they're anticipating that this would be a pretty important document to you, so what should showcase your best writing skills. If you upload your resume into Big Interview, it will take a look at your resume formatting. It will take a look at your resume keywords. It will take a look at whether you have specific to a job that you are interested in, the right keyword and the right formatting, the right language on the resume. It will look at your resume for proper structure of bullet points. It will give you feedback on spelling and grammar and all sorts of really important things. What I love about the way that my team is doing work this semester is that when you get that resume feedback from the technology, a real live human beings sits down next to you in my Career and Life Design Center and walks through that resume feedback with you. It is a wonderful resource. I hope to see you all in our Career and Life Design Studio, which is open between 8-5 Monday through Friday. You never need an appointment. In order to meet with the professional staff, we talk with students about mock interview, about job or internship search, and generally career exploration topics. We are absolutely there to help you when you are in your journey and ready for one of these types of conversation. A lot of times students will drop into the studio and get their resume all set up the way they'd like it first, and then they meet with one of my staff members to talk more about how to customize that resume for a very specific job or internship that they're interested in. Or perhaps it is because they want to do some interview practice. Or even talk more about how they might zone in on a particular career that they'd like to explore with their English or creative writing degree. These are all things that my professional staff can and will help students with. Those were some of the things that I wanted to mention to you this evening.

Rachel, is there anything else that you prefer I go over today?

>> No. I think that's a good overview. Did you want to talk a little bit about Handshake?

>> Absolutely. I can talk about Handshake for sure. I'm going to stop sharing for just one moment because I can pull up Handshake. Give me one second and get to that. It's here. Go into student view first and then I will go back to sharing mode.

>> Maybe we can circle back around Kelly when you're ready and proceed with the employer part.

>> That's okay. I'm just getting in. I just need a second to be able to pull up my screen. Just give me one second. Happy to be able to do that.

When you log into Handshake, this is what you will see. Handshake is the stock for all employers interested in recruiting Oakland University students to post their job postings. There are internships in Handshake, there are career full time related opportunities in Handshake. There are on-campus student employment opportunities in Handshake, all of the above. Ultimately, from this screen here, you can search for jobs. You can see different events. You can research employers, and you can check out resources. One thing that I wanted to show you by way of brief sources is if you click on our resource section and scroll down just a little bit, we have all resources in here. Specifically, I want to click on resources for the College of Arts and Sciences community. I'd like to click on and get down to some resume samples in here and show you an example that is appropriately got one for creative writing and one for English Writing and Rhetoric. For the purpose of today's conversation, I'm going to pull up the resume for English, Writing and Rhetoric. This is intended to serve as a sample. This is intended to offer some inspiration as to the types of things that someone might choose to include on their resume as an English major. You can see here examples of related coursework. You can see if I pop back up to the top here, how that debris area is lifted. You can see samples of internships that this person had and how they bulleted it out their details of experience, and so forth. These things can make really nice inspiration if you're trying to figure out what experiences are best to include on your resume for an English major. I certainly wanted to be able to share that with you. Then another thing that I wanted to be able to talk with you about is how you can look for jobs in Handshake. The first thing that I will tell you is that this is really for any employer, as I mentioned, that's interested in recruiting Oakland University students. These employers can be from anywhere. What I would imagine is that you may be similar to 99% of other Oakland University students in such a way that your first destination after college could end up being somewhere in the state of Michigan. We'll operate under that assumption and when I scroll down here to location, I'm going to make sure that I'm clicking on positions in Detroit, Michigan area. Right now it has within 50 miles of that. Then what you can see is that there are all other filters to choose from. You can limit your search to onsite versus remote work. You can say that you want only full-time positions to pull up versus internships or other part time work. And you can really make this specific to you. I am going to pretend that my interests is in becoming a technical writer. I am going to take the terminology technical writer into my search option and we're going to see what comes up.

Right now, the closest thing to that looks like it is a business office support specialist. You can see that you can, that may or may not be the right thing for you, but you can see what you're able to do here is essentially scroll through this job posting. You can apply right through this job posting. You can research the opportunity further here. You can click to see the profile for the Genesee Intermediate School District, which was the poster of this particular job. These are all things that you can do right here directly from Handshake. [OVERLAPPING]

>> This is so great. I do want to be mindful of our guests time. Could you come up, please?

>> Absolutely.

>> I believe.

>> Thank you, Kelly. You should should really take some time to go on that website and take a look at all those services. But we're going to hear next from Alli Knox. She's a recruiter at City Year Detroit, so take it away, Alli.

>> Thank you all. Thank you so much for your time and sticking with us through some technical things. I'm really here to talk a little bit about some opportunities for you guys. What you can do with your major is, and once you graduate and beyond that, so I will keep it short as I do know that there's some alumni here and we'd love to hear from alumni. But I'm going to go over a little bit about sitting here real quick. City Year we are Education-based nonprofit we re powered by AmeriCorps. I'm not sure if everyone here is familiar with AmeriCorps. Essentially, it's a large, government-funded organization that provides services and volunteering opportunities to different disparities that you might see in health, education, the environment. Thousands of different programs were one of money. What I will say real quick is all of those programs want to hire you. First off the bat, they will hire you like no questions asked.

Again, I'm one of many, we're City Year. What we do is we place teams of young diverse individuals into what we call inconsiderate urban systemically under-resourced public schools. Where they work their full time all year as a tutor, mentor, and role model to kids in grades three through nine. What happens is you join us City Year. We're in 29 cities across America. If you want to go to Miami for a year, you can go to Miami for a year on us. You go to the city, you join a team of about 10 or so other core members. You won't be the only individual in the school. Each one of you will partner with the teacher in that space. Then you're going to go ahead and identify the students who need some extra support, who need to fill in the gaps with and stuff like that. To identify your students, you're going to look at the makeup every class, maybe it's about 30 or so students. You're going to identify the ones who are two to three grade levels behind in their literacy placement and their math placement. Then we're also going to look at the students who need help with their social emotional development, so throughout the rest of the year, you're going to focus on those students that I just identified by providing them with a very individualized instruction and small group support. Essentially what you're going to be doing is tutoring them throughout the rest of the year. At City Year we know that if these students who are at two to three grade levels behind in their literacy or math placement get X amount of minutes of extra support throughout the year, they're like two to three times more likely to end up on grade level, and essentially that's the goal of City Year. Again, we work with grades three through nine because because we know that if a 10th grader enters 10th grade, on grade level, there's 75% more likely to graduate at all or on time and at all. We want to catch them before they get there, give them that consistent support from third through ninth grade, and hopefully send them off to tenth grade and they're doing well. I mentioned before that we want to hire you guys and that you guys would truly be great participants for this program. One I will mention it's paid, you get benefits. It's not like a whole bunch of money or anything like that, but it's a really truly great stepping stone in terms of professional development and personal development. The reason why City Year wants you guys, is because you have great analytical and critical thinking skills. Some of the systems that we work within are unfortunately super dysfunctional. We need you guys with your great communication skills, your great analytical skills to come in and truly help these students. Again, I mentioned that City Year is not the only AmeriCorps program, there's a lot of different of these service oriented programs where you receive just as much as you give through the program, is investing your time into the communities and you grow and you gain again. What I'm trying to say is that all of these opportunities are out there. They're very good for professional development. They're very good for not working like we mentioned before, building your own connections, building your own network, hopefully finding a full-time career or something like that. Essentially City Year we're a gap year opportunity. A lot of other of these America opportunities might look something like a gap year. I managed to make it my career. I stuck around and I'm a recruiter here. Recruitment takes great communication skills and problem solving, decision making skills, which all of you guys have as well. That's an example of how you could use your major, come due this year service and end up in a career. Again, there are so many different pathways and opportunities for you guys. I know that we got to really quick showing of handshake, but as somebody who is on Handshake trying to recruit you guys, I know that there's people out there trying to hire you. I definitely encourage you to check out those areas of spaces, Handshake, LinkedIn, all of that stuff. There's going to be other bigger names maybe like Teach for America. If you've heard of that, even the p score, you can do programs like this and it's really considered. Again, that's stepping stone before what's next. Through the program, we do resume days too, interview days as well. Obviously, we're getting to work with students and communities, tutoring our English and stuff like that. If you want to take it a step further through this program, you can go into looking into creating the curriculum like the English curriculum, stuff like that. There's also a lot of scholarship opportunities if you're interested in furthering your education. In terms of maybe education or really anything. I do believe that an English major can take anyone anywhere. I do believe that you guys are very strong thinkers, workers, dedicated to really understanding whether it's an issue that you're solving or anything like that. Essentially what I'm trying to say is, we are here, we are trying to hire you. It just might look a little bit different than what you want to do either for the year or what you might think your path might be. What I'm trying to say is, I encourage you to look for maybe something that you might not think somebody might always do even if it's just for a year or two. There's a lot of opportunities for you guys.

Again, we value your knowledge and your education. I've been a little ahead at you guys really quickly, a little bit about City Year or a little bit of how much we love you guys. I am going to let you guys take it away. I'm covering from my colleague, Robert. Robert Humphrey is an amazing recruiter at City Year, you will see him on campus at the different career fairs and stuff like that. I will drop his email in the chat and I definitely encourage you to reach out to him if you're interested at all in the opportunities we have pure or even other AmeriCorps opportunities. Thank you again everyone for having me here and I'm going to drop that in the chat.

>> Thank you so much Alli, that was terrific. Again, we're only going to just touch on each of these different things here because we do want to be mindful of people's time. But I know you all are excited to hear from alumni and where you are going to first go to Elizabeth Pellerito, who is the Director at the Labor Education Program at UMass Lowell. Hi Elizabeth, welcome back. Great to see you.

>> Great to see you. Hi Anne. Hi everybody. I'm really happy to be here. I apologize in advance because I came down with a nasty cold or something today and I will probably stop and sneeze and be sniffling and disgusting. Bear with me. I graduated in 2004, which is a really long time ago [LAUGHTER] now.

I work in a job that I think seems like it has nothing whatsoever to do with English. I will talk a little bit about my pathway to getting there. But if you're going to take away, I think one key thing from what I say, it's that you will end up in places that you could never expect or predict right now, because you probably don't even know that they exist right now. That is, as Alli said, the power of the English major, is that you are so well prepared in terms of communication and analysis and writing skills. That really does take you anywhere and translate to a million different things. When I was in college, I did AmeriCorps. We had at the time, actually a core that operated out of Oakland University. It was part-time. We were placed in schools doing similar things to what City Year does. But it also gave us a lot of opportunities to go and do different nonprofit-based things. Your main assignment was in a school, but you were also maybe going and working with people with disabilities, for example, or you are going and doing parks labor. That was great because it helped me rule a lot of things out. Namely that I was not cut out to be a classroom teacher for K12. I know a lot of you are probably thinking about that as a career option, but it's really hard to know until you've had that experience and being in the school setting.

I think that after a year, two years I was there actually three years. I knew for sure that that wasn't for me. That is really valuable. That's not a waste of your time. That's really valuable information that you have. Trying things that might be outside of your comfort zone is another takeaway I think. I did an internship at the Troy Historical Society and I don't know how I ended up doing that. I have no idea. I think Andy would probably it was like this is really a great idea and I was like, okay. But that opened up a whole world to me, ways to do research and ways to use writing. I was really interested in creative writing. I don't think that we had separate major for it at the time or I probably would have been in it. I just didn't know about all of the possibilities, so that was really helpful and by the end of that, I had decided that I wanted to go to graduate school, which is a whole other topic and probably a whole other workshop that you all have, so I did a PhD. I have a PhD in literature and it has nothing to do with what I do in my day job now. I do constant writing, research, and critical analysis. I think that's really key is like thinking less about what is the actual day-to-day work that you want to do? And more about like, what are the skills that you want to be practicing? Are you someone who wants to be working on your own and writing and then intersecting with people as you're in the editing process, as you're working with clients or whatever? Are you someone who wants to be part of a team and thinking projects? And one thing about the work world is you're always going to be working on a team. As much as you hate those group projects, they are also helping you figure out how to do that in the work world. The job that I do right now is basically I run a very small program that's connected to a larger statewide program that sometimes teaches undergraduate classes, sometimes does research, and then all of the time does what we call extension work. I teach classes to workers about their rights in the workplace. Sometimes that is working directly with unions, sometimes it's working directly with community organizations. If you had told me that I would be doing that when I was in college, I would have said that you are out of your mind. I was the person who read, do you still do the course memo where everybody talks about the class and what you're going to read in it, and what are the assignments are going to be? I don't know if that's still exists, but it was a thing when I was there. I was the person who would go through and be like, there's a major presentation in that class, I'm not going to do it. Literally that's horrible. But I was so afraid of public speaking and it was skill that I wish I had pushed myself to develop, but I didn't and it came slowly over time and now I do it every single day without really thinking about it. I was talking to my partner the other day and I was like, yeah, I have to write this three hours and Posey, and he was like what? Who talks for three hours? I was like, well, hopefully nobody. But yeah, it comes with time. I think the other thing that really was hard for me when I was a student is feeling like the path that I was making this really momentous choice that would determine the rest of my life. That either I was going to go down for me. It was like, I'm I going to be an activist or am I going to be an academic? And I saw those as these binary points that could not possibly intersect in any way and that I had to make a choice and the choice that I was making right then was going to commit me, for the rest of my life and it was so stressful, it was so fraught and I just did not know what to do. Looking back, I wish that I had someone to tell me that that's really not how it works. That like one, you're going to find your niche and you're going to find ways to combine things in new and exciting ways that you don't know anything about yet. But too, if you really hate something, you're not committed to that for the rest of your life. You can take a job working at Ford or working in marketing and be like, you know what? I'm not happy here and I'm going to figure out what the next thing that I want to do is and maybe that means like doing some networking and maybe taking some skill-building classes or whatever. But you're not locked into that for life and I think that your generation maybe realizes that more than minded and that has to do with like structural factors relating to health care. The fact that you're not locked into a job for life the same way that you were. But don't be afraid to do something that you're not sure about because you can always shift gears. You are not locked into that for life and I just remember being so scared and so stressed out about that when I was in college and it really wasn't the case and so for me, the pathway that I got into my current job was because I got involved in my graduate union when I was in grad school at Michigan State, became a leader of that and then use those skills when I went on the job market for academia, there were no jobs. There still are no jobs in academia. It was a easy choice for me to say I'm going to go do some union work for awhile and see what comes up that and I had a former student say like, well, don't you feel like you need intellectual stimulation and that has to come through your job? I think that's the other thing that I realized, if you're relying on your job to do everything for you, and this is where the labor studies professor comes in.

You're setting yourself up for a lifetime of misery. You can always be artistic, you can always do intellectual work. You can write a book and you don't have to do that for your job in order for you to do it at all and for it to be reboarding, you will find your pathway. You will figure it out. Maybe for some of you it will be really smooth and for others you're going to try things and be like, I didn't like that. The more I think that you can do that in school as internships or something like City Year. Those are such great opportunities for you to explore if you're in the position where there's a lot of different pathways where you could see yourself going down and that was definitely me. I'll just wrap there and pass it to others if that works, and then we can do Q&A.

>> Terrific. Oh, thank you so much, Elizabeth. That's great.

So much great advice and Katie, we're going to turn to you now. Katie is the news producer at WJRT. Is that right WJRT?

>> That's right. 

>> Yeah, okay. Take it away Katie.

>> Thank you so much for having me and for attending this seminar online. I worked for ABC12 or WJRT in Flint. I've been a news producer there since December of 2020. My road to getting there was not as smooth as I would have hoped. So maybe I'll backtrack by talking about my time at OU. I graduated with a double major in journalism and English in 2020. It was May 2020 so we had the whole drive-through graduation, Can't get out of your car thing because of the pandemic.

I had these plans in mind, I didn't know what I was going to do being a double- major. I've always liked what Elizabeth was saying. I've always been going back and forth and thinking that I needed to have things figured out right away, that I needed to know with two majors, which one do you want to do for the rest of your life? I had at that point picked that journalism was going to be the avenue. With my English degree, of course, I forming that because we have so many valuable skills that we learn as English majors. I graduated in May of 2020, and then I was looking for a job for a little while. I was submitting my resume everywhere. I was on Handshake, I was on LinkedIn. I was looking for the right thing for me. I was being ghosted by different places where I submit the application. I never hear back. I have an interview and I never hear back. I think that was in part because of the pandemic, but also workplace, the culture has changed a little bit because so many places are urgently looking for somebody. They're sorting through what they have and here's somebody that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to let the other people know what's going on because we haven't communicated with each other. I was unemployed during the pandemic and I got my job interview in what was it? I think it was mid-November of 2020 and then I started as a producer in December. I'm still there right now. I do enjoy it a whole lot. I'll break down what I do on a day-to-day too, because producers are such a big word, but it's, I do a whole bunch of different things. My show is the 6:00 P.M. new show on Monday through Friday. Of course, I'm filling in other spots when people take the day off. Sometimes I'm doing the 11:00 P.M. show as well. When you produce a new show, I think in short the basic would be what the anchor is reading on the teleprompter. I've written most of that. I go into the show. We have a meeting at the beginning of the day where we decide what a reporter stories are gonna be. Then I decide how they're going to run, where they're going to run, and how much time they're going to get and I monitor my email through the day. I'm monitoring press releases that are coming in, social media, and different tips we get, whether it's over the phone or through our news tips. And I'm putting together the best show that I can buy the time six o'clock rolls around. We have a whole big team that makes that happen which stresses the importance of teamwork. I'm writing with the anchors read, I'm also setting up the banners that you read at the bottom of your screen, We call those our lower thirds and I'm picking out soundbites for stories, what's the best way that we can showcase this? I think that my English degree put me in an advantageous spot with that because up until we just hired somebody a month or so ago, I was the only English major there. I think that the analysis skills help us find tune into understanding meaning and we can do it very quickly as well. I can look at a press release and I can figure out what they're trying to say. I think because we've read so much and because we have such an expansive vocabulary because we can pull these literary devices out of tax and things in that realm, we're able to understand things and be able to tell stories better. I think for me I always saw journalism as the one thing that I was going to do. English very quickly became my passion and I realized early on in my career at WJRT that I felt part of me was still missing. Yes, I'm informed by my English major past but I was like I'm going to go to grad school. Here I am in grad school. I started that in the fall of 2021. I work full-time and then I go to one class a semester so I'm taking it halftime. I'm about halfway through the program and I think for me, understanding that I wanted to go back to school English literature is something that I want to keep doing. It's about knowing that it's okay to not be sure what you don't want to do. It's okay to maybe decide that one avenue isn't quite suited for you and now I'm going to go do something else. I'm not sure, I love journalism, I love English. I think I'm still going to pursue journalism in the future, but I'm also going to be teaching on the side. I'm not sure where it's going to be and it's okay that I don't know these answers right now.

Since I graduated in 2020, I'm still trying to get my footing on things, but it's been a nice journey I enjoy what I do every day and I love being able to go to class and being able to interact with other students about literature and work collaboratively with other people at my job to valuable skill that we're able to do through having discussions every single class period. It's just I think I'm at a place where I know what I want to do but it might change in the future and that's okay. Now I'll end it with that.

>> Okay. Katie that was great. Thank you so much. I hope that people are hearing just how helpful it is to be an English and creative writing major because it opens you to the world. It helps you to understand stories and understand the complexity of our world. We live in such a complicated world and I want to now turn to the master's who is a librarian at Oakland University.

>> Hi everyone, thank you for joining, and thank you for having me. My name is Dean and I have not gone very far from Oakland University since graduating. I'm working at Kresge Library. Many of you are probably familiar with the library. I have been there for 10 years and I originally graduated from OU so my pathway is for so many English majors all over the place. But I originally graduated high school in 2004 and I took three years off where I just traveled and lived in other places and tried to enjoy that time. Then I had the panic moment of I had to go back to college and get serious about things. I ended up finishing my English degree, it was 2012, and was at the time working at a public library. I'd been working at different public libraries since my senior year of high school. For quite a while at that point and about a year after I graduated with my English degree, I saw the job posting for a position at Kresge Library at OU. My boss was the one who notified me of the posting and she was like, didn't you graduate from OU? I was like, that would be a dream job because of how much time I spent in the library at OU and already having been in libraries for as long as I had, I applied for it thinking chances are probably pretty low. But I think that it helped a little bit that I was an OU grad, that I was already really familiar with campus and then I knew quite a lot about OU.

That's what started me other than a leave of absence, that was for the better part of a year. I've been there since 2013. I'm also here to represent libraries as a pathway for English majors because almost all of you will have spent some time in libraries. Most English majors will have some special connection to libraries and a lot of you may have considered working in them in the past. I can answer any questions you have about what jobs there are and what the salaries are and what it takes to get those jobs, what sort of education you need. I'm going to give a brief overview of just a couple of those things. But if you have more specific questions, you can always follow up with me.

I'll also address some of the things that I hear commonly objections to working in libraries are fears that people have about taking that as a career path. I think if you're an English major, you are already on the right trajectory of being experimental and trying things that might not be on the surface, the most lucrative or financially successful. Careers and libraries can be surprisingly


Let's see. What I do in a typical day? My title is Access Services Assistant. Access Services is a part of the library, at least at OU's library that includes things like circulation, so checking in and out materials, we handle interlibrary loans. Bringing in materials from all over the world, those are both physical and digital. We maintain the stacks of the whole library, so the physical collections, moving them around, shifting them when we need to create new seating and things like that. We also have the Course Reserves program, which is a relationship between the library and faculty to make textbooks and materials like that available. My area handles all those things. My specific role is to hire, train, and schedule all of the student assistants who work at the library. When you walk into the library, the first desk you see on the left, there's usually students sitting there waiting to greet you, answer questions and all that. My job is basically to train them, make sure that they're always up-to-date on our policies and procedures and also be a jack of all trades in our departments.

Help out in any other area where people need assistance, whether that be packaging up our interlibrary loans, taking phone calls and answering questions about whether we have something in our catalog, responding to emails, booking room reservations, just all things throughout the day. One of the things that's fun about that job is the variety of things that will come up throughout the day.

An English degree has an obvious connection to libraries, I think. When you tell people you have an English degree, I think that's one of those jobs that they assume that you would be well fitted for in addition to teaching English and some of those other things. It always felt right when I was getting my English degree that I had already worked in public libraries and had an interest in that. That said, I will say there's obviously been a shift in the last couple of decades towards people with IT degrees. Libraries have become more of areas where you can get tech help and that thing. But my argument is still the English majors because the fact that you haven't over specialized in any one particular subject you are in a great position to provide information literacy. That's what libraries are there, not just houses of books. They're not just IT centers. They are places that I teach people how to access the resources they need. Whether that'd be for research like in a university library or for their entertainment, like getting movies from a public library. There's definitely a really strong place in communities for libraries, there's a strong place for them at universities and there's a strong argument for their continued existence. The education that you need, as I said, you're already off to a good start if you have an English degree. The typical thing people think of in this field is the MLIS degree, the masters of Library and Information Science. There are two places in the State of Michigan that offer those. That's University of Michigan or Wayne State.

Wayne State tends to be the more popular choice with the people that I've worked with. Generally the division, as it was explained to me when I was younger, was Wayne State was for people who wanted to work out on the floor working reference answering questions. U of M was more for people who are looking for the upper management or you want it to be a director or dean of libraries, that would be the more appropriate choice. Although I don't know that that distinction really holds. But lots and lots of colleagues have gone to Wayne and been happy with that program. It is fully online. That said, I have not gotten an MLIS degree. Like I said, had worked in libraries at this point for so long and there are certain areas in libraries where you do not need an MLIS degree. Typically that degree is required to be an actual Librarian with a capital L. Those who work in libraries, librarians and specifically designates those who have that master's degree. At least at the university level, they usually also have a second master's degree. It is a lot of education. It is a lot of work. But I'm also here representing the library positions that don't require those additional master's degrees. If that seems daunting to you, like two extra master's degrees for this field of work. I got my English degree. I have picked up additional degrees since then because being an OU employee, I'm still here and I wanted to continue taking classes, but that was not necessary. In fact, the job that I hired into required only a high school degree. But sometimes depending on what library you hire into salaries will be negotiated based on whether you have your four year degree and so on. One of the big decisions you would have to make if you're interested in libraries, is whether you want to work at a university library or a public library and these are the two big divisions. The main differences between them, I would say are three things.

One, the source of funding. Of course, at the University Libraries those are funded by tuition and State support. And the public libraries are funded by local property taxes. There's often a smaller, more community-driven feel to the public libraries, which you're probably familiar with. The clientele is of course different. Two, you're going to get a lot more families and locals at the public library, whereas the university, you're going to have undergraduate and graduate students and faculty and staff with some guests. Then of course, the duties between working in the public libraries and university libraries are very different. Generally in public libraries, you'll have more rolls combined into one. You'll be doing processing, technical work, interlibrary loans, circulation, shelving, reference work, all things will fit into one role. Whereas at the university level, it tends to be the case that people are more specialized in each individual thing that they do. Lots and lots of different positions within the library, there are things that range as far from working at a front desk where you're answering questions and checking things out to working as an archivist, maintaining the special collections in a university library and seeing the magic that happens when you show someone a 500-year old book for the first time, that connection that you can have. Just to wrap up, I mentioned that there are some common objections to working in libraries. One of those is there's no jobs in Michigan. I can't speak to this. I think from my perspective, I've seen colleagues who have been able to get jobs pretty quickly in the library field. It may depend specifically on what you want to do if you really have your heart set on being an archivist rather than just working in libraries in general, that might be trickier. For instance, if you're willing to get your foot into the library world, get some experience, and then shift your job. It's going to be more lateral shifting generally, by the way this is not the like climb the financial ladder job. But the exciting thing is you can get one job in the library world and then you can find what your niches and what most interests you. Then the other thing is, our libraries still relevant? Will I be employed in ten years if I take a library job? Again, I've talked about this a little bit already. We've already seen how libraries have shifted and stayed on their toes with the advent of technology. Libraries happily introduce computers. When computers became a thing. They happily introduced subscriptions and e-book catalogs as digital tech, digital resources have become available. As I've said, a lot of libraries have almost become like IT hubs and there are libraries now in the world that don't have a single book in them. If you're the person who wants to experiment and you're happy in this world that is thinking on its toes and rethinking constantly ways to continue to be relevant to its community or to its university it's a fun place to be. It's exciting to see how these changes are happening and you can be a part of that.

>> Thank you so much Dean. It's so interesting and it's a great place to be for people who are hungry to learn about the world as of course you are. Now I'm turning to Brittney Doesburg, who is the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Educational Programming at the Detroit Zoo. Welcome Brittney.

>> Hello everyone. Thanks for inviting me and for everyone coming. I think I have a common thread as what everyone else has been talking about, it is just my journey through school and all my jobs has been bouncing all over the place. I graduated at high school in 2010, and I originally went off to Grand Valley and I was pre-med. I was there for three years and then I had to come home to be a caregiver for my mom. When I came home, I was just at OCC for one semester because I moved in the middle of the year and I was trying to figure everything out. I ended up doing a few semesters at Baker, which was not the greatest choice for me, but I was continuing medicine there. Then I switched to OU in I think 2014 and then a bunch of my credits, almost all my medical credits did not transfer. Then I had to decide if I wanted to redo four years of medical courses or if I wanted to switch. I at that time decided I could not do or go cam and all of those things all over, and I'd always loved and had a passion for reading and writing and teaching. I ended up duly enrolling. I have my degrees from the Creative Writing Program in fiction and poetry, added other classes and the Capstones for both. But I was also a double-major in cultural anthropology. My major was archaeology with a focus in prehistoric Native American tribes and bands in the Great Lakes region. I also had a minor in geographic information systems. Then I graduated in 2016 from OU with those degrees. When I was going through school, I had talks with Annie and some of the other professors, and there is an internship through OU to the zoo for all of the writing majors, so I ended up doing that. I had been working all throughout school as well, so I have a bunch of different jobs on my resume that seem like they're all over the place. But kind of what everyone else has touched on, is that just all of the critical thinking and the analytical skills and everything that we get through all of the literature courses and the writing courses, all of that is very applicable everywhere. My jobs seem very stinted and random but there's that common thread throughout everything that I was able to use those skills and to tie everything into those jobs, and I was able to increase and better the position I was in with those skills. Then when I was doing my internship at the zoo, the internship ended and Diane, who is now my boss, the VP of Educational Programming, she hired me on after the internship ended, but I was working on a grant. The zoo, if you don't know, is a non-profit, so I was working on a grant, then the grant money ran out and she was trying to hire me on full-time, but because it's a non-profit, you have to go through five different boards and there's a very long process to having a position added. By the time one had come on, I had a different job. I was working at a company called Advilmass, we're helping people. It was actually in the medical realm, which was nice to go back to that, but I still was able to use all of those skills that I had gained from OU and just the college in general, to tie into those skills and to do better in multiple, I got like I kept getting promoted to different positions within that company, and I kept taking on more and more and more which of course came with a higher pay, which was nice. Then in the end of 2019 in November, some of my family, my brother and his wife and some of her family, we decided to buy a bakery. I heard some of the other people had mentioned was that scary moment of taking on, did I want to take a chance on another passion of baking that I had and leave a job that I liked. I ended up taking the risk and so he took over the bakery November 1st of 2019, just months before the world shut down. But because we not only baked, we also made food items and bread and we brought in milk from Guernsey. We were classified by taxes as a grocery store. We were able to stay open and we made some profit throughout all of it, which was incredible, but most of our employees left so I was working 100 hours a week for years. Eventually I decided that I needed to leave this last year and then coincidentally, I ran into Annie and her husband at a farmers market and she's really good friends with my boss, and that was just wondering because then we're talking and then she was talking to Diane and then I had been searching for a job, and so that came up. Was just wondering just how those networking and all of the happenstance comes together sometimes in the universe, which is just strange and wonderful. I've been back at the zoo. My position before, I was actively teaching. We would bring in field trips and we would write the lesson plans and we would align it to all of the state and federal curriculum for the class guidelines and then we could align it with what the teachers. Well, we have Tots programs, but for the schools, those kay, there are 12, then we had some college classes come in as well. Then like I said, we had Tots programs and we ran summer camps. It was very informal teaching, but still utilizing all of those English and language skills that we learned at the college and then also all the science skills you have and everything else that you build, and also just learn on the job. You would write all those lesson plans and teach. In my position now, I'm more behind the scenes, all of the logistical things. I help all of the educators run all of the programs on the backend, which is another interesting aspect of it. If you wanted to be in education, but more on the office side or the behind the scenes stuff, speaking with other teachers, we have a lot of grant programs and donation programs where we bring in schools on our dime or through donations from tidal ones that couldn't afford to come. We have district partnerships with one of them is a DPSCD. Every first grader in Detroit Public Schools comes and sees us and we write a lesson plan directly for them. It was just really interesting when I was thinking about doing this, thinking back on all of the past jobs and internships and just volunteer work that I've done on all of the different aspects of all of the different nuances of trying to help people. Which I think is why I went into my other degree in anthropology, is just kind of wanting that human connection and figuring out how to help people further and it's just incredible to think about all of the different tie-ins from all your schooling and past jobs that can lead in to things you never really thought you would do, but a job that ends up working out well. I think that's all I have, but I'll stick around for the Q&A.

>> Thank you so much, Brittney. That was terrific and I hope folks are hearing some of these repeated themes and some of these patterns. There's a lot to do with networking, internships often help you to sort out what you want and what you don't want. But it's so important to realize that you're not locked in and that you can do all lateral moves both within companies and company hopping, and institution hopping. I think one of the really important things to remember is that English and creative writing majors don't have a prescribed job like an engineering student goes and becomes an engineer, a nursing student goes and becomes a nurse, but with creative writing in English, you go and you can do a ton of things. Please do take a look at the resumes that our alumni are so graciously willing to share with you because that will give you a real snapshot of how people go from a stepping stone, from one job to another and sometimes a surprise stepping stone. I'm going to open things up now to a Q&A. Anybody have questions? You can either put them in the chat or you can just turn on your screen, raise your hand, whatever you want to do. Please Emma.

>> Just really quickly. Can anybody hear me?

>> Yes.

>> I guess I just wanted to ask is, don't get me wrong like say, this entire session has been really helpful. Thank you so much. But I guess maybe just want a little bit of reassurance too because my thing is just with contexts. I did start college during COVID, so I wasn't really able to start, say participate or stay on campus stuff until I stay my sophomore year and all that. I've obviously did my bachelors, I say tried to participate. They said to participate in clubs and all that, but I also, say I did start working later and a lot of personal stuff happened during college and just say is, I just want to I'm curious because say, I graduate this April. I just still feel like I have really say fallacy. My goal is to get an internship. I just feel really hammered on an internship yet, but since I'm a senior, I just feel like I'm just so far behind them, deal with Michael's College regrets. How do I just know that like say, I guess I'm not screwed and it's not the end of the world. What do I do? I'm interested to find internship? Stuff like that.

>> You're not too late. Emma, for sure, contact me because we will set up a Zoom meeting and talk about this. But I want you to know that everyone has been feeling like they are in chaotic time since COVID and folks have already talked about being unemployed. Anybody want to speak to Emma's question?

Katie, you want to take a pinch?

>> Yeah. I was going to do the hand raise thing but I couldn't find the button. [LAUGHTER] Oh my gosh Emma, when you were talking, if I felt such a sense of familiarity because for me, I was in the middle of my last semester when COVID hit. All of a sudden, I can't come back to campus, I worked on campus, and we were trying to navigate doing that online, I worked at The Oakland Post and at the writing center. It's okay, if you're still trying to get an internship, like any set the department can hook you up for sure. But for me at the beginning of my job search journey, it was just constant like imposter syndrome. Me thinking I got this degree, am I not getting a job because I'm not good enough to keep going. There were a lot of doubts, and I think that that's just part of the process for a lot of us too, because we have these thoughts in our head that maybe we don't have what it takes to do things. But you absolutely do have what it takes, and you said that you're a senior, so you've worked so hard to get where you are right now. It's going to be a great journey for you once you get toward graduation once you get an internship. If you get an internship and you decide that it's not quite what you want to do, that's okay too. You can always take another one or if you want to start job search and go different avenues there, that's fine too. But only my big thing to say is it's okay. We've all been there before. It's okay to not know.

>> Thank you so much [OVERLAPPING].

>> Everyone is nodding. Let's go to Elizabeth. Go ahead.

>> Well, I was just going to say Brittney said something about learning on the job, and there's so much that you learn on any job. I think that imposter syndrome keeps people, especially women and non-binary people from their studies that say, they don't necessarily make them more ambitious. They look at something and say, I don't meet 100% of these requirements and so I shouldn't even apply for it, and that's not true. There is a certain expectation that you do a lot of learning on the job. I think employers right now, know that COVID generation that came up during the past four years, has just had a really different college experience and they're expecting that and they're ready. From a labor perspective, it is a really good time to be looking for a job. There are jobs available that it is a worker's market, don't freak out. There's no such thing as like being behind. You will find something and you will create your path and it sounds like Emma is ready to jump in with figuring out an internship. Please don't freak out. It's tempting to freak out don't do it. [LAUGHTER].

>> Thank you.

>> I know, so tempting. Go ahead Dean.

>> My gosh Elizabeth, Katie have already such as brilliant things, I would only maybe add the note of trying to remember self-care is important along the journey. Taking those moments to sit back and go, it's okay. I don't have to have it all figured out right now. That has been so important to me, especially when you're trying something that is a little bit off the beaten path. I know it can be difficult to explain to other people what it is you're trying to do. How many times I've had family members or friends say like what exactly is your end goal? [LAUGHTER] Are you going to be a teacher, or you're going to be a librarian? What is it that you're going to do with this English degree? It can make you feel the pressure to like, I need to have an answer now.

How many times have I heard people say the first year out of college, whatever you do is not what you're going to be doing the rest of your life. Almost every single time. You have the time to figure these things out. But as you're doing that, my personal input here is remember to find a quiet place where you can just remember, not everything has to be figured out in this exact moment.

>> That's important to take care of yourself. Brittney did you have anything to add? I know that's hard coming in after everyone else.

>> For the most part they got it all. I think it's important to remember that almost everyone graduating is terrified, about what they're going into, I'm sure I don't want to speak for everyone else who has talked, but I'm sure all of us where I know I was, from every switch that I made, also was slightly terrifying, especially leaving like a corporate job where I kept advancing that I really liked, to take a risk on something else like the bakery with my family. All of that is very terrifying. You end up finding new things and they're things enjoy, or you find out that you don't like it from the risk and then you just go back and you can find something else and what Elizabeth said right now, companies are trying to hire people. You're going to be finding jobs. Maybe not exactly what you thought of, you are going to be getting a job in two years ago, or four years ago, but you'll be able to find something and kind of figure out what you like and what you don't like and be able to move forward from there.

>> That's great. Thank you so much. This is just to remind you to keep your mind open. Because you don't know exactly what is going to fit you or what's going to make you feel fulfilled, until you've tried it on. Again, there's lots of internships that we can work on getting for all of you. Please do write me and set up a meeting with me. I can do Zoom, I'm also on campus, but that's your first step. Please also do reach out to Kelly, because you also need to go the, sorry. It's got a new term now. The career center and learning, life learning.

>> Really career in life design center because it leans into exactly what every single one of your alumni said. Every single one of them you do not have to have it all figured out, that's what we're there to help you explore.

>> It's just such a great resource. The folks at the career center are so generous, they're really patient. They don't expect you to know how to do anything. They're going to sit down and work with you. This is one of the best things that our university offers because it's a lifelong resource for you. You can come back, I've had a number of folks who've participated in career nights who said, Yeah, I decided I wanted to make a switch. I went back to Handshake. I went back to the career center. They helped me find a whole new job that I loved. Nothing is set in stone, you're not going to be an engineer and you're not going to be a nurse. That's a big surprise. But you can be just about anything else. You just have to be willing to explore, look at the resumes, look at, and talk to people. Ask questions because you know what that is what networking is. You are networking right now. It's not that hard. It's a little scary to talk to people you don't know, but you can do it. You've been doing it, Emma just did it. Anybody else have more questions? Please Madeline?

>> Hi. Your guises, stories or an advice is very inspiring.

I have a question about so about post-graduation, working in multiple positions throughout a career that is still within one, or two, or three. I know for sure that I want to work in the animation industry. I'm interested in storyboarding, illustration, voice acting, freelance work, music. What advice do you have for just going through different jobs, post-graduation, different positions.

>> Go ahead, Elizabeth. You look like you're thinking.

>> I'm thinking. I think if you know what you want to do, then that makes the opportunities for networking even more important. Not being afraid, I would say to cold call folks and reach out and be like, hey, can I talk to you about what your day-to-day looks like. Especially if you are thinking that you want to go the freelance route. Like really having some conversations with folks about, how do you line up your gigs and how do you get insurance? How do you do that? He's really practical adulting tasks. In a more traditional job, you don't have to worry as much about. You have to figure out how to sign up for your benefits and all of that stuff. But it becomes real in a different way if you're going to be a freelancer. I think yeah, like just having some conversations.

Even if you think like, oh, I'm going to email this person from this company. They're never going to answer me back. They might, they might not, they might be really busy, but they seriously, I think people get really excited to hear that there are folks who like I want to be when I grow up. How do I do that? Then of course, if there are other folks who like asking your professors if you have courses that are irrelevant, whether it's design courses or whatever. Like, do you have any alarms that I could talk to you who are in the field? Just seeing where that conversation goes, seeing where they ended up and like, oh, do you know of anything in the field? Or do you know of any good first steps for me? Is my initial thoughts.

>> Horrific. That's so important because in fact we do have a mentoring program to help connect you with these folks who are out there doing some of the same things. Go ahead, Brittney.

>> I was just thinking to through both of the questions. When I was at OU and I was doing my anthro degree, I was thinking for a while of going to grad school for anthropology and archaeology. One thing that my professor said all the time, especially because I did a bunch of clustering at different conferences and stuff and he was always like need to have your elevator pitch. I hated when he would tell me that because I hated it. I hated thinking about it. I hated the thought of trying to sum up my worth in 20 seconds. But I think it is very helpful and very important to think about. Taking the skills and everything that you're really good at, that you're passionate about, that you want to learn more about, being able to condense that into a few sentences to be able to tell that during your interviews, or like Elizabeth said, if you reach out to someone in the field you want to be in and are asking them about how they got there with their day-to-day is like or things like that. Just being able to say, I really want to do voice-over and I have done this and the music school or whatever is applicable to that. I think it's really important to make sure you have that core of what you are good at and you'd like and you want to continue to do moving forward?

>> Yeah. Practice it when you're driving in the car. Practice it when you're walking in the woods. Whenever. Good. Anybody else have questions? We do need to wrap up. Oh Dean. Go ahead, please.

>> I just wanted to add to that to build off as something Elizabeth said, this wasn't directly applicable to my daily job. But in doing research, I think the point of contacting people directly, the term Elizabeth Hughes was cold calls. For me, it's just like sending out emails, particularly to people that you admire already in the industry. If there's an animator that you like, especially if they're not somebody that's way up there at the top making the millions, but there's somebody that's local that you're really into, like having direct communication with them. Networking is a word that I've always hated. The elevator, like there's so much that feels inhuman about that. But the idea that you can do send out emails to people, it doesn't take a whole lot of effort, but it can mean a whole lot when you do actually make that connection if you get a response and you develop that over time. Just like sending out emails to some of the local writers that I really admired, or whether they be at other universities or published writers. Just starting out by saying, I really appreciate your work and not at all. Soon enough, I had this network, whether I liked the word networking or not. Now there's a really wonderful group of people who work in the field that I am most interested in and then have great advice. I just wanted to emphasize the point of making sure to write to your heroes or right to those people that are doing what you want to do and make those connections.

>> Yes. Reach out because they might, as Elizabeth said, right, not write back, but they also might write back and then suddenly you've got a new contact.

You also want to talk about this with your schoolmates, talk about your interests and your love with your teachers, all. Because you don't know who knows somebody and that's what networking is. It's often not going to be the person you're talking to. It's going to hook you up. It's going to be the person that, that person knows. We are a social species. We want to help each other. It makes us feel like, oh, I helped them. Whenever somebody says, oh, well that helped me getting an internship, although I just like light up. I live for that. We actually get off on helping you guys. Do reach out. Anybody else have questions?

Thank you all so much for participating in this terrific event. Apologies again for some of our technical difficulties, but we're old and that's the way it goes. I love you all. Please reach out if you have, if you'd like a copy of the alumni resumes and also the this will be processed and then eventually will be available, but it's going to probably be about a month lag time before the recording of tonight's event will be available, but we're going to eventually have it for you all. All right, thank you all. Great to see all you all.


We're going to start with internships. Emily, if I can ask you to share my screen?

Yeah, you should have access to be able to do that. Let me know if you don't and I'll double-check.

I think I'm good.

Yes, I can see it.

Well, one of the things that you might want to take a look at after this evening is the Department of English and Creative Writing and Films website and you'll go on to internships and career resources and we've got a bunch of different things for you to take a look at. One of these is our list of available internships. Here you'll find various organizations and companies that have available internships for you. There are non-profits, there's obviously for-profits -- and we put these into different categories -- marketing, editing, and things like that, businesses. We have all the non-profits at the top. Most of these are unpaid internships. Some of them, though, you might be able to negotiate some type of small stipend or something like that so never rule out contacting these organizations to see if they have anything available. The other thing is that you can look on indeed. Emily's going to talk a little bit about their resources tonight. You can always find opportunities through career resources online. We pretty much have had somebody intern at all of these organizations and so we have some good insight into what these positions can offer you. There's also availability on campus as well. I know that we have had a couple of people intern at the med school and they've helped out researchers and so forth compile and collect and write and publish data. I know we have one person who actually was a part of the publishing team and got her name included as an author on the article. We also have some positions in publishing and TV. Those are definitely resources that you're going to want to check out. Now there's a couple of different ways that you can approach this at Oakland, you can actually do an internship for credit and if you're an English major, I'll help you facilitate that internship. If you're a creative writing major or you're going to want to reach out to Annie Gilson who will have you helped organize that. You can also do this on your own. You don't have to do it for credit. You can use our resources. We can connect you with people, our contacts, and so forth that these organizations and you can pursue and do the internship on your own. You're going to hear from quite a few people tonight saying that they did an internship and they discovered perhaps that it led to something that they were interested in, in a career path, or maybe it showed them that they weren't interested in this particular topic at all.

And that's really what these internships are meant to do -- for you to try it on.

Is it something you like doing? Do you like the setting? Do you like the skills that you're employing? Do you like the atmosphere or the setting? Do you like the work? You can leave these experiences and so forth with many things or just a few things, but they give you access to the professional work experience and they're good little stepping stones that perhaps can lead you in the right direction. Let's hear from Emily now and she's gonna tell us a little bit about how you can also access Career Services to research these opportunities as well.

Awesome, thank you so much. Thanks for sharing a little bit more about internship opportunities. My name is Emily Cutlip and I am a Career Consultant for the College of Arts and Sciences and I recognize some of the names here. I know that we may have worked together in the past, so it's good to see a lot of you. I am actually going to share my screen as well in just a second here. What I'd really like to show you all is Handshake. Now, I know that many of you may be familiar with Handshake, but I do just want to go over a few important things that are tied to Handshake. All students and alumni have access to Handshake and this is the hub of our career-oriented resources, including a calendar of events. That's where you can make appointments with us. But before I dive into Handshake, just a two-second overview. Those of you who haven't engaged with our office, Career Services can help you with anything and everything career-oriented. We help students with resumes, cover letters, mock interviews, job and internship search strategy. But we can also help with things like LinkedIn optimization as well as career exploration. That's actually probably one of my favorite discussions to have with students, to explore what you can do with your major and what things might be a good fit for you. I talked to students about salary negotiation, so really you name it. We're here to help you and I have a colleague as well Caroline Kettson, who works with the College of Arts and Sciences specifically. We specialize in working with students and alumni like you. So please come and see us, earlier rather than later so we can help you plan for your future.

Handshake is again the hub of all the careers, online anyway, at OU. I just want to direct you to a couple of key things real quick. If you aren't sure how to log into Handshake if you go to, there will be a link, but the direct link is I'll go over just a couple of things I think are most important really quickly. Top left-hand side, we have a jobs tab and this is where all of our employer partners, including people like Jeff, post jobs and internships for our students and alumni. This is also where every single on-campus job will be posted so that's something to think about.

The most important thing is you want to make sure you're using filters because as you can see, there are over 20,000 current opportunities in Handshake so we have to use the filters. I will say that Handshake is heavily geared toward internships and entry-level. There are going to be opportunities outside of that as well. But because it's geared very heavily to our undergrad population, we're going to see a lot of internships and entry-level opportunities. For example, if I wanted to do technical writing, if I was going to do a mock job search, I'm going to hit the filters. Let's say I want a full-time opportunity. I would love to get paid as well. Let's say that's important to me, I'm looking for a full-time job. I'm going to keep rolling through but there's a lot of different great filters you can utilize, but minimally, I am going to at least just add a major. Let's say that I'm a creative writing major. We'll go ahead and pop that in here.

From there, I'm just going to go ahead and show the results.

That brings me count to 8,000. Now I'm going to add technical writing as my keyword and if I want to bring it down even further, let's say I'm looking within 50 miles of Detroit. That's going to bring it all the way down to 21 from over 20,000 as you can see. These are opportunities that closely align with the keywords that I popped in. But come and see me and I'll help you develop a very tailored approach to this that works specifically with you. Just a couple of other really quick things because I know we have an exciting guest list tonight to hear from, not including me. Everyone else is very exciting. [LAUGHTER] Top right-hand there, excuse me, left-hand side still. Keep your eyeballs on the Events tab. This event for example is in Handshake. You are all open to come to any and every Career Services event that you want to, even if you are an alum. Then finally at the top right, if we hit the career center, I do just want to show you all that this is where you can make appointments with people like me. If you jump in to hopefully my browser loading the appointments tab, it's super easy. You can schedule an in-person, virtual, phone, e-mail appointment and you just plug in a day and time that works for you so it's so simple. Then the last thing I want to show you is our resources tab. Some folks aren't aware that we actually have a big old library of resources that we offer up to students and alumni outside of career coaching appointments. We've got stuff for resumes, interviewing, LinkedIn, you name it. But I will just specifically point out that we have a College of Arts and Sciences specific folder, and there are things that are tailored to arts and sciences students like you. I won't go through all of these different amazing resources, but I will specifically go all the way to the bottom and you'll see that we have resume samples by major.

We've got some for creative writing, for English to check out if you're looking for some inspiration. But at the end of the day, I had a couple of minutes to share some key points with all of you. If there's a few things I want you to walk away with its students and alumni can use our services. Come and see us earlier rather than later, so we can help you plan for your future. Handshake is an amazing resource and tool for you and you're in charge and in control of your future and coming to events like this is a really great step forward. But come and see me, keep my calendar busy. With that I'm going to stop sharing my screen. I will be here for the duration of the event. I'll put my information into the chat and I'm going to hand it back to Rachel, who I think will be re- handing it over to Jeff probably.

Thank you, Emily. We're now going to hear from Jeff Granat and he works in the Oakland County Government and I'm sure he'll tell us more about what he does and where he works and how I ended up at this particular position and maybe advice that he can provide you as far as working in a similar position. Thanks, Jeff.

No problem. Thank you for having me. Hello, everyone. My name is Jeffrey Granat, and I'm a recruiter at Oakland County Government in Waterford. I've been here for a little bit over a year. Prior to that, I worked in Career Services with Oakland County, Michigan, worked for 15.5 years. I'm well-versed working with job seekers and employers. Now, in my time here working at Oakland County, I work with different departments and help them post jobs and get the word out there. I also go to job fairs and meet with different students and help them. I have a strong understanding of what departments are looking for, and I also have a strong understanding of job seekers as well. One thing I will tell you is that a degree in English or creative writing is very valuable, and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Now, what's very important about this degree is it teaches you the ability to write, it teaches you the ability to think and the ability to analyze things. These things are so important in the workplace these days.

It's very important to have these skills regardless of what position that you're in. Now, it's on you to be able to sell yourself to employers and how you can do their job. But having a degree in English or creative writing, it gives you options. You just have to explore your options and figure out what you want to do. You can work in media, you can work in journalism, you can work in education. You just look at the job description, see what the different places are asking for and then on the application or on your resume, you need to show how you can do those things. For instance, at Oakland County Government, we have different positions for we were just recently posting a Communications and Marketing Assistant position. You needed a bachelor's degree and one year of experience in either public relations or advertising or marketing or something of that nature or closely related fields. It was a close to entry-level type position. But what's key at when you're applying for a position at Oakland County is that we don't look at resumes at Oakland County, we look at what's on the application. You need to sell yourself. Somebody that has a background in English is going to be very comfortable with articulating themselves on paper. It's not like that in every employer, but at Oakland County currently, that's what's required.

One of the things that I wanted to get across to you. Another thing that I want to mention to you, again, is having options. The nice thing about this degree, it gives you options. Like I said, you could do something in marketing, you could do something in journalism, you could do something in education, you could do something in government. Sometimes if your degree is too specialized employers will only see you in that certain area and it might be difficult to expand your horizons. But when you have something that's a little bit more broad, you have more options and it depends on what you're interested in. The different kinds of courses that you've taken, any kind of internships you've had, and then utilizing your network and being able to sell yourself. Make sure that you take advantage of all the resources that are available at the university to help you in your pursuit of what you're looking for.

Excuse me, Jeff, I was just wondering. You mentioned that the position that you recently advertised asked for a year of experience, would you count a person's internship toward that experience?

Absolutely. They just have to show -- whether it's an internship or a full- time job or whatever -- they have to show that they did public relations or marketing or advertising or social media. Whatever it was that it asked for on the application, if they had a year of it, it doesn't matter whether it was as an intern or a full-time position as long as they got that one year of experience. They could have had three different internships, if they have that experience and they show it on there, then it would be counted.

Thank you. Terrific.

Do you have any skills that you think students should try to strengthen while they're at OU? What things do you think are most important for students to emphasize as far as skills?

Two of them. People might laugh at me when I say this, but the ability to communicate with other people effectively.

In the workplace, you're going to be working with all kinds of different people. Some people you get along with, some people not necessarily. That's what happens -- I'm working at Oakland County with 5,000 different people. I worked with a bunch of different departments. I'm assigned to people, different departments at different levels. Not all of them like me, but I do my best to work with them and do my best to help them. The ability to effectively communicate with them is key. I ask questions and I try to do my best to provide quality customer service. Taking classes where you'll learn to effectively communicate with people and understand people -- psychology classes, speech classes, communication classes -- stuff like that will help.

Anthropology, sociology. Understanding people is key. Even if you're shy. When I was in school, I was shy, but over time, I've continued to get to work with people and I've gotten more comfortable and sometimes I still am shy, but I've improved in that area, I've got more comfortable. It's not going to go away. The ability to communicate effectively, verbally, and then the ability to communicate effectively in writing. I read applications all day. Boy, this is a real struggle for people. Now, I know doing applications aren't people's favorite things to do, but this is a job application, so you should be putting forth effort. If you are putting forth effort and this is how some of the things are coming out, then, oh my. This is why the English classes in the English Degree is going to help you because you're going to be doing a lot of writing and be prepared for the workplace. I know when people were in school, some people didn't like writing, but it's a necessity. In almost every job, at some point you're doing some kind of writing. It could just be as small as an email to somebody, or could it be a report, or preparing presentations, but this is not going away for anybody. You need to have the basic fundamentals down and continue to be practicing it. It's critical.

That is such a great point. Sorry, Rachel. I wanted to emphasize that talking in class is so important for students to develop this skill. It's really not something that we have you do it because we want to fill up space. It's such a great skill. Thank you, Jeff.

You don't realize the importance of it until a little later on. When I was in college, I did a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science and then afterwards I went back for a Master's in HR. I avoided those things and I was very uncomfortable with them at the time. Since then, I've been in the workforce now for about almost 20 years, and I've realized the importance of it. I wish that I had practiced harder. I hadn't been so shy when I was in school. I would have worked harder on overcoming my fears with some of those things, I wish I would've taken that speech class because even if I wasn't going to do on a ton in the workplace, at least I would be prepared.

Thank you, Jeff. Does anybody have any questions? I don't know if you'd be willing to pop your email address in the chat so people can follow up with any questions.

Well, you're more than welcome to stay, Jeff, but if not, thanks for sharing your expertise and insight with us tonight as far as skills and how to approach those applications and so forth in order to be successful. We greatly appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you.

I just want to second that. Thanks so much. If it's okay with you, would you like to have students contact you or not?

Absolutely. It's a pleasure. I love going to job fairs and doing panels and talking to people. I'm still practicing as you can see. I get nervous but I enjoy it, and I enjoy helping people. Anything that I can do to help the university and the students, I'm always glad to do.

Great. Then just put your email address in the chat and students will be able to copy it down. Thanks again.

No problem.

Rachel, shall I pick up now?

Sure. Thanks.

Now we come to the alumni portion of the evening. We are so lucky to have five excellent alums with us, and I'm going to just go in alphabetical order. I'll just give you a brief overview of everyone. We have Lalita Chemello, who is the Deputy Editor at Jalopnik-G/O Media. We have Troy Frisby, who is at Hearst Television. We have Lucas Jeffrey who is at United Wholesale Mortgage. We have Brandon McCullough who's at Commerce Township Library, and we have Sarah Williams who is at Pine Rest. Lalita. Everyone's going to give us just a brief narrative of their experiences and any insights or tips they have to share. Then at the end, they can answer any questions that you all might have.

Perfect thanks Annie. First, everybody, I apologize. I'm actually on the road for work/fun, vacation. I'm in an RV, but we're stopped, so we have some quiet [LAUGHTER]. But I'm Lalita Chemello. I'm the current deputy editor at Jalopnik, which is part of G/O Media. If you're familiar with sites like The Onion, Gizmodo, that's all part of our group. So serious news to an extent, but also very good at the satirical. I've been there for a little over a year-and-a-half. But actually -- talking about the importance of internships -- I had done three throughout my college career. They were really great jumping points to get an idea on what I wanted to do in various spaces. I did an internship doing marketing with a local music booking company for a few years. I also did an internship with Crane Communications, which is actually how I got into the biz.

And then I also did an internship with the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Sorry, they change that name a lot.

It took awhile to get to where I am the internship I had while I was at - The Crane internship I had through family member that I met who introduced me to one of the vice presidents actually at Crane Communications and we had a very nice talk and found out that he was where I applied and that was my foot in the door. A really good demonstration of networking and how important that is.

And that led to a full-time paid position and got me started in the automotive industry.

Jalopnik is actually an automotive and transportation based publication. So a lot of the stuff that we work on, we write about racing, we write about cars, we test cars and write about them. There's a lot of really interesting and fun facets and a lot of travel. I've always been a fan of the industry and that was what led me to there. But there's also a lot of other things that I had to do in between before I got to this position, which after I'd gotten my full-time job at Crane, we actually lost our account that we were working on and we were all laid off. [LAUGHTER]

And this is just a couple of years off after graduation.

One thing that I found is like one of the most important things to keep in mind in this stuff is, there's always going to be a part of you that wants to have a job in your field, in your industry as much as possible. But you also have to be able to pivot and make the best of the situation. Not working is not always an option. So interim, I was a manager at a Banana Republic for almost a year until I got back, I ended up finding a job. From there, I ended up at a dealership for another year-and-a-half and was laid off during the pandemic. But that was something that I was able -- even though it was a dealership and it was related to the auto industry -- I also created an opportunity for myself there as well.

And so we started a blog where I would talk about car maintenance and stuff so it's still got that writing aspect in there. But I wasn't completely removed from it, but it wasn't initially what my job entailed. It took a while before I was a news producer on the west side of the state at Kalamazoo, WWMT, Channel 3 and then I ended up at Jalopnik. I mean, there's a lot of other stuff in there, but the biggest thing I want you guys to keep in mind, aside from even the pivoting, is creating opportunities for yourself. It's so important to meet people and talk to them and ask them questions. A lot of them, myself included, are always here and happy to answer your questions.

That's something that I also do a lot at your age and even post grad is figuring out: where did I want to work? Where did I want to be? What would be a five- year, ten-year goal?

And then also looking into those companies and asking people -- finding them on LinkedIn, finding them on social media and other ways to connect with them and see what it is they do and some of them will be blatantly honest. I found a photographer because I was interested in that at one point who did stuff around the world. I messaged him because I was curious and he's like, "In all honesty, I'm miserable because I'm never home and it's a hard life."

With individuals that I've mentored in the past, I always like to help you guys feel out: what is it that you're interested in? What's the reality? What can we do to bridge that gap? What are things that you'd be willing to do?

And helping figure out who you can contact or have some homework to find those companies, find those places that align with not only your values, but your goals and dreams.

And at 35, I'm now the top woman at our publication.

I'm the first deputy female editor at our publication and things are going really, really great. But it took a lot of work and a lot of understanding, research and talking to a lot of people to get here. Don't ever discount the conversations that you can have, whether that's going to events or doing things like this. Those conversations, even if they're just sometimes seem like the most mundane can change your life.

Was that enough Annie? [OVERLAPPING] I apologize, I forgot how to pronounce your name.

That's okay.

In the years since we've -- since I actually recited your name aloud [LAUGHTER].

Totally okay.

Thank so much and so that was just a terrific information and we will come back to that but let's now go to Troy and hear from Troy. >> Hi yeah so I'm Troy. I'm a Senior Content Producer at Hearst Television, producing long-form video here in New York. But when I was at OU, I double majored in English and Journalism and I was fortunate that both departments really pushed me to do internships. I did a few as well one for a radio company, one for a TV station, which I think was listed the community affairs internship at CBS Detroit. I did that one back in the day and I did one for non-profit.

And as was said earlier, very helpful in terms of finding out what you want to do.

Also very helpful in terms of finding out what you don't want to do. And then when graduation was rolling around, I was really lucky that one of those companies, the radio company, was hiring for a position that I was right for.

So I did start after graduation.

Not as easy after that [LAUGHTER]. I worked there for two years, but I'd always wanted to live here in New York. Not the easiest thing to try and convince the company to hire you from a different state. So there's no shortcut there. It's just a lot of applying and casting a wide net, especially when you're early in your career.

And just being- staying at it.

And eventually a digital media start-up, they did take a chance on me and then moved out there to do short-form video, but I didn't have a huge video background. I took a film-making class in high school. I took one radio and TV class for journalism. But they were like, "You're going to be primarily writing." Again, to what Jeffrey was saying, just having good writing skills and communication skills, even if you don't have the exact skill set for that job. Sometimes people are willing to take a chance.

So I worked there for several years and then I got laid off during the pandemic.

During the time that I was working there, I also was doing some side work, reviewing cabaret basically for free tickets and the occasional free drink [LAUGHTER]. That was just to be able to do something more creative because short-form video I was producing little minute long news videos for brands like Time and USA Today and Hearst. Like the videos that play within articles, so I liked doing it and I was writing every day. But not the most creative writing so it was nice to be able to have that outlet still, even if it wasn't a full-time job.

Then when I was applying for the job, I currently have it Hearst. It was a long- form video job and I had never written video.

The work we're doing now is half-hour TV episodes and I'd been writing primarily minute-long news clips.

The reason that they took a chance on me as well was because I had video experience and then I had long-form writing experience. Those two jobs were separate. I didn't have long-form video writing experience, but combined, I had enough experience that they said, "We've taken a look at your samples and you did a writing test and we think that you can do this." My biggest thing is be adaptable, try and learn skills at your current job that could help you at the next one. Even if it's not your favorite thing to do, it's important to know a little bit of everything. Even if we're English and creative writing majors, we don't love math, but it's important to know analytics. Being able to know a little bit of everything, even if it's not something you want to make your full-time job might very well help you down the line. Then in terms of interviewing, my two big things, I think I would say, think in advance about how your past work would set you up for success in that role, even if the two jobs seem completely different. I worked in a library for seven years through high school and college. It's like multitasking, prioritization, customer service, working with people, communication. All of those things will help you even if you're doing a completely different job.

Well, and be adaptable. [LAUGHTER] Those are the two biggest things. Then lastly, always have an answer for why do you want this job. [LAUGHTER] That's the biggest thing. I did some internship supervising in my first job at the radio company and we would interview potential interns. It happened a lot more than once that people did not have a good answer to that question. If you don't know why you want to be there, it's an automatic, then what are we doing here? I think just really knowing what you can bring to the table and why you want to be there are two things that sound simple, but it's true. That's pretty much it.

That was terrific. Thank you so much, Troy. Let us now go to Lucas.

Hi everyone. My name is Lucas. I graduated from OU in 2021. I was doing creative writing on a fiction track and a minor in English. When I was at OU, I was working for a non-profit as a communications facilitator. I was doing a lot of in our weekly newsletter and our website and our social media. During the pandemic, I was doing live streaming or online videos, things like that. Then I moved to become a technical writer at United Wholesale Mortgage. What we do is write documentation. There's a team of 10 of us. We support the entire IT floor there. That's like 1,600 people on where anytime a team or a project needs something documented, needs something written out for it, they come to us and we'll work with them to write that out, whether that's steps or just general outlines of processes, but it's very expository writing, very informational. I took the work there. I never worked in an IT role. I didn't have experience technical writing before, but I applied to that and actually wasn't what I was looking to go into. I was more interested and now I'm in copy editing or editing in general, but actually, I went out for that. Technical writing is just a different style of writing. It's something that you have to learn. All the writing that I did creatively, even though I don't do creative writing on the job, it's still informed all the writing that I do every day at work. That's something that I'm very thankful for it, so I get to come into work every day and just write. I have documents that are mine to write. That's the thing that I get to do. Our team actually, every time we hire people and we've hired a round of people twice since I started there. I've been there for about a year. We'll probably hire people again in the future, very soon because there's a lot of work to go around for that, but I've actually gotten sit in on the interviews both times we did that. I know pretty specifically what we look for, which I thought might be helpful to share. I said, first we look for that you have an interest in writing or that you have experience writing and there's no one right answer to that. We have me, who majored in creative writing, we have someone who went to OU for journalism on our team, we have somebody who worked in the automotive industry writing for that, we have somebody who did a blog and then that was the only writing he'd done, but that showed that he had an interest and a passion for writing and skill in it. Really having that interest, that experience.

Like I said, I didn't have any IT experience, but our company really invest in training you up and teaching you. I spent a lot of time in the classroom at work several hours a month. I can say they still offer courses and teach you how to do all these things. As I said, so coming in and being willing to learn and I think that's a big piece of advice I try to give to people is don't be afraid to apply for jobs outside your comfort zone or things that might require learning because being a great student can get you a long way in a role because it always takes learning. A big thing that we also look for in interviews is people who are comfortable with giving and receiving criticism because all our documents that we write are for three rounds of peer review in each document. Big part of what I do is review documents for other people, give feedback, give criticism on it, mark it up, do line edits, but then I also get a lot of that on my documents. We really look for people who are comfortable taking that feedback, especially from people who might not be as experienced as you are, or getting feedback that you might not agree with because that really shows if you're able to work personally with people. Our job is very collaborative, so that's being able to go up to somebody and say, "Hey, you marked this up on my document, can we talk about it? Can we talk about why you think it should be written this way?" Things like that.

Being very collaborative. All the writing workshops I took at OU really prepared me for that because we did have that round table of "what do you think of the piece, what could have been done better, what was really good?" Things like that really helped prepare me. Just in general having writing samples in is something that I always encourage everybody to do when they're applying for a writing role. You'd be surprised how many people come in without writing samples. That's always very helpful. Just being able to feel comfortable asking questions and going into situations where you don't have all the answers and you need to learn. I know I said that, but just really being a learner in your role is so important. Like I said, I went in with no formal IT experience and now I'm writing about things in IT that would've been way over my head a year ago, but it's always having your mind open and being able to pick up and understand things, and then ultimately, get to write about them. That's really the best about the roles, just how much writing I get to do.

That's terrific. Thank you so much, Lucas. Brandon.

Hi. I have a new microphone. Can everyone hear me? Cool. My name is Brandon McCullough. I'm an adult librarian for the Commerce Township Community Library. I love my job. Let me go ahead and start by saying that, but I learn new things here every day. I do have three main responsibilities. First being to actually man the reference desk and handle other people's information needs. We also do a lot of collection management. All of the books, all of the materials, the media that you see, we're responsible for purchasing that. We go to professional reviews to determine what to purchase for the libraries, we had to stay within our budget, but we try to provide our communities with as much material as possible. But really, what I really love is the ability to create my own programs. That's where I get most of my creative outlet from. For instance, later this year, I am starting a monthly writing club here at the library based on a local author policy that I wrote myself. In a way, I'm able to facilitate ways for new writers to come in and just have at it. They'll have me available and I'm looking forward to it. I'm a little excited. I'm a little nervous, I hope it doesn't fall flat, but things like that, programs that I can create, that's really where the creative side of having a creative writing degree comes into place. I do have to do a lot of communications, setting up other type of programs like meeting presenters, meeting people, and ultimately, that's what my day-to-day entails. My undergrad was through OCC and that was a library technical degree. I already knew that I was headed towards that path, even though my bachelor's is in creative writing. I really wanted to find the perfect niche where I could combine my love of reading with my love of writing and I'm able to find that. Also, being able to work in a non-profit organization has really changed how I feel about my workplace because I've worked in other companies where I didn't truly believe in the product. I think I listed some things on my resume, but this is something I believe in. I'm a frontline worker in the battle to keep information available for everyone. I think the buzzword for it is the freedom to read. I'm not sure if you've been paying attention to the news, but there have been a lot of attacks against schools and libraries about some of the materials that they keep. It seems that it's more politically motivated than it is anything else. That's really one of the most fulfilling parts of having this job is we just keep the information flowing and make sure that nothing is restricted to anyone because everyone deserves to be able to read what they want to read.

When I was searching for this job, what really helped me was that I was diligent. I checked nearly every day for any openings, anything that was available, and it eventually just became a numbers game. It's just you have to keep trying until you at least get your foot in the door. It really helps to thoroughly read the job description that's available. If you can find out information about that company before you go, do that because any information that you take going into it is just going to help your chances in landing the job.

If anyone is interested in becoming a public librarian, Wayne State University has the only accredited master's program in the state of Michigan. You can take it 100% online. The good thing about it is that there is no basis waiting for you at the end of it. You just have to turn in a portfolio with some of your coursework and write a graduation assessment. Come on. This is what we do. That's really it. Another good thing is that once I leave the library, I can turn it off being a non-profit. I have all the time I want to try to write my own procrastination pace. Yeah. That's it in a nutshell.

Oh, brilliant. Thank you so much, Brandon. Now we hear from Sarah Williams.

Wow, that's a tough crowd to follow. Everyone is so put together and organized and Lalita and Brandon and you guys are amazing. I'm not nearly that prepared. [LAUGHTER] Yeah, my name is Sarah Williams. I work for Pine Rest. We're the third-largest behavioral health organization in the country.

We're an organization of about 2000 employees and our marketing department is six people, so we are really busy. [LAUGHTER] I've been there since 2015. I absolutely love it. I just felt like I arrived within the first few weeks of working there. I do all of the social media and digital communications, a lot of website work. If you go on Pine Rest, Facebook page, LinkedIn, that type of thing, pretty much all of the content there, I create.

Videos, artwork pieces, promoting our media spotlights.

But yeah, I think I'm the oldest alumni in the group here I graduated from OU in 2002, it seems like a really long time ago and I guess the biggest point I want to make is I had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise, even at graduation and it was almost like I was graduating college with really high GPA. It may have even been 4.0, I'm not sure.

But developmentally, I was more like 16-17 years old.

I was a very free spirit, writing for a skateboarding magazine and playing drums for a local band that was trying to break out there and just driving my mother crazy because I was not focused at all, or really interested at all in trying- everyone who's here tonight, you guys are trying to get tips on how to interview and find an internship and you're like all really responsible people. That's really not where my head was when I was in your position. I'd say things to my mother like, "I'm thinking of moving out to California and see if the state magazine will hire me full time" or "Our band is going to try and see if we can start traveling around and maybe someone will pick us up." And then like I think she just wanted to lock me up until I had some sense in my head. But I did figure it out for myself eventually and Annie Gilson was an incredible mentor for me at that time. She'd take me out to lunch from time to time and she always let me be myself.

I don't even remember what I was telling you anymore at that point. I'm not sure I'd want to know. But she never stepped on any of my ideas or tried to tell me that- She just always supported me creatively. But like I said, I did finally get my act together and I got my first real job at an insurance adjusting firm and really that was just for the purpose of picking up basic office skills and dressing a certain way every day and in the office at eight out at five -- I had been waitressing before then, so I really was interested in a job where I would have my weekends back to myself.

Shortly after that -- well, I was there for a few years and then I moved to Grand Rapids mostly for family reasons and that was probably the best thing I could have done for myself. I lived in Royal Oak my whole life, it's a great area, but I was stuck. I wasn't really finding a lot of new opportunity. Moved out to Grand Rapids, got my master's degree at Grand Valley State and did a couple of internships here. I've been at this for a number of years and I still don't really know what I want to be when I grow up.

If you look at my resume, it's not really an intentional career path that I've created for myself. Every job has just been the stepping stone to the next tangible thing that I wanted in life. I met my fiance. We want to move into an apartment together. Now we have to get better jobs so we can afford to do that. Then we wanted a house. Then we wanted to start a family. It's like those are the life events that pushed me and my husband to seek those higher challenging jobs and it's so true what they say about just being open to pivoting and taking on job roles that you might never think that you would do. For like three years, I organized educational programming and continuing education for realtors. Like can you think of anything more awful? [LAUGHTER] Getting up at 6:00 AM to run a conference that runs from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

But I did it for three years because that was the time when we were starting our family and the money was better than I'd ever made before and it had benefits.

Yeah, I ended up at Pine Rest in 2015. I was just looking for something that would give me the opportunity to do more of what creative work that I liked to do. When I first got the- I applied online and I got a follow-up interview and they send you a form to fill out -- or they did at the time -- that had a bunch of questions about my knowledge on website programming and really technical stuff.

And I almost didn't continue the process because the form was so complicated and so technical.

I thought I'm never going to get this job and I don't want to spend two hours filling out this form for this job that I'm clearly not qualified for.

They hired me.

[LAUGHTER] I told them at the interview, I said, "You know the form was really intimidating, I'm not a very technical person.".

And they were just looking for someone, I think, that was open-minded and wanted to take on all of their social media channels, which was fairly new back then. Long story short, I've been there, it'll be eight years next month, a month from today, actually. It's just awesome. Yeah, I would just say when you're starting your career, just keep your head down and work really hard and don't expect a ton to happen in the beginning. Just focus on learning and being decent to the people you work with and if you can find a mentor or someone who wants to show you the ropes, take advantage of that.

Oh my God, that was so great. You're so funny because you're like, "Oh, I'm not put together. "

But you totally sound that way.

This is a lesson for everyone in the fact that it's not how you feel internally, because everyone has these same skills, all students are going to be able to go out into the world and do this kind of amazing work. I did want to pick up on one thing. That is Troy's mention of the usefulness of screenwriting for video making. I do think that that's something that has changed over the last few years -- last 5-0 years -- that a lot of tech writing now is also video writing. But Lucas, you are clearly still doing the old-fashioned tech writing. You're not actually writing for videos.

It's really important to know that some people will be making videos now, or doing what Sarah is doing, making social media posts, making websites, etc. But there are other positions still that are doing this more old- fashioned/workshop-oriented tech writing. But what is also really cool is that listen to how creative everyone is, like Brandon getting to create programs that bring in writers. I loved reading your information hero plug there because that is so true and it's so important. I don't want to take up more time because I want to be able to let you all ask questions if you have them. But I'm really so excited what a great panel that you guys were amazing. I love you all so much. Questions, anybody?

They can go in the chat or you can speak them aloud and remember what Jeff said. That is that every time you speak aloud, you are practicing for your jobs. These are your people.

We love you.

We are here for you. So it doesn't matter if you're groping, say something, if you have any questions or if you just want someone to expand on a particular point they made, just say, "can you tell me a little bit more about this or I was interested in that." But it's really good for you guys. Come on.

I just had a quick question. My biggest thing was if you could put your emails in the chat and if we had any questions. I know we're supposed to ask questions now, but my brain is really frazzled trying to take in all the information. If we can have your emails so that we can contact you with other questions too.

Thank you. That's a really good point. Remember that Jeff did put his email in there for folks too. Thank you, Lalita. Anybody else have questions? Or again, just anything that comes to mind.

When you're applying somewhere and they want writing samples, is there anything from your college experience that you could include in there or do they only want writing samples from an actual internship?

Who was it that talked about writing samples, bringing them with- that was you Lucas, please go ahead.

Yeah, I've seen quite a few portfolios for people, really what we're looking for in our tech writing specific role is in those samples the ability for people to write expository writing or informational writing. But that doesn't mean we just count anything that's not like that. I mean, we've gotten short stories or news articles or blog posts as I said, that's all anything that shows that you can write honestly is valuable, especially for tech writing because we were focused just as much on style as we are in content, showing that you have a mastery of a certain style, if you're able to write in a prose style, if you're able to write in AP style for journalism, any kind of writing sample shows whatever skills you have in that genre so all of it is valuable.

Any panelists have anything to add to that? You think that it's worthwhile for students to do a mockup post?

I can answer that. Sorry, I'm in the dark, so I'm just going to leave the camera. But yeah, one thing because I do a lot of hiring for my job and whenever we've had people turn in a writing samples sometimes, yeah, the only experience or writing you might have might be something out of college.

So picking your best representation out of that.

But also a lot of writing jobs, especially in the journalism side of things, sometimes they'll actually give you a small assignment and have you write something like a short 300 word post to give them an idea on what you can produce in a certain amount of time and what your creative capabilities are just in that stance in the moment. Like Lucas said, it's not a make or break type situation. We're looking at a lot of factors. Can you put together a cohesive sentence and write out a story from beginning to end. How is the material that you're using or if you're looking up stuff, how do you deal with referencing?

Another thing that actually helped me a lot was I actually started writing a blog myself because I didn't have enough experience to do all the journalism stuff that I was applying for. I started my own blog and website and was writing up articles and stuff on their motor sports and that's actually what led me to do stuff with Porsche and with an F1 magazine that I worked on. Don't feel like you're limited to just your college stuff, but you can turn that in or work on something tangentially that you can also turn in that's something different, shows you have initiatives.

That's a great point, Lalita. Thank you. I wanted to add another question. Shannon O. Said, "I'm curious if Lucas's work team does their workshops in- person or is it more of an online communication with co-workers?"

Yeah, it's a little of both. We are all in person at UWM. Primarily, we'll put a document out for peer review. Somebody will take it and they'll add comments or markup in Microsoft Word and they'll send it back. And then when you get your feedback back, you can go through it. Some of it is, it's just like line edits -- like you misspelled this word, you are missing a comma here. You can just take that on your own. You don't have to talk to them about it. But if there are- I always like to leave suggestions or questions about the content, say, "Hey this seems a little unclear to me, can you explain more?" That's when we'll come over to each other and we'll say, "Hey, let's talk about this. Let's discuss it together." Sometimes we'll bring in two or three or four more people if it's a question that's.

"not really sure how to phrase this kind of thing, let's get more minds on it.". So it's both digital and very collaborative verbally.

Something else what you do is after a document is published, we will schedule a retro for it, which is when we all get together in a meeting room that people who peer review that document and say, "okay, let's look at the feedback that we got on this document and what made sense." If it didn't make sense, instances, we do three peer reviews on each document. We say what was caught in the first peer review that wasn't caught in the second peer reviewer in third and vice versa, things like that. That helps all of us become better at giving feedback on documents so it's very verbally collaborative. We always say the best thing you can do in the role is to ask questions. A lot of people just roll over to their desk and be like, "Hey I want to ask you about this," things like that so it's collaborative in many different senses.

That is such a great way of putting it, that questions are super important. And when you ask questions, it shows that you are wanting to learn, thinking critically, which is so important. Being respectful of other people's knowledge, which is one of those bedrock skills that English and creative writing students develop in the classroom too. I mean, I want to underscore that, that Jeff was talking about how important it is to communicate with others effectively and respectively, to try to understand them, just coming to every situation with curiosity. That's so important. More questions anybody?

Yeah, I had a question and this might be a bit vague and it's going to depend on career. But there is a few mentions of video production and social media management from some of the panelists. I was just curious in general, what are some other skills that you might not learn strictly within the traditional English curriculum that are good to pick up in college or in the beginning of a career that might be helpful later on the line?

Nice question Sage, anybody? Let's go in order. Let's see Lalita, anything?

Yeah. A couple of things. One thing that I found really helpful was photography. I actually do have my certificate photography as well. But that's in this multimedia universe that we now live in, it helps to be able to do more than just writing.

So photography, I mean, I was a screenwriting major when I was at Oakland.

All of that plays a really good part in the social media side of things. The other thing is being able to put together a pitch or a creative deck if that makes sense. Thinking about like one of the things that I encourage my writers to do and that I work with our social on, is being able to take a story and figure out how to push it and make it more prevalent on social media.

So you put together a plan.

We're going to write this article. We're going to do this video with it because we can, here's how we're going to do this on Twitter. Being able to create a bigger picture for things that you're working on as well because especially with social media, like a lot of those are campaigns. You're always looking ahead to what's a holiday or what's something coming up, or what are we publishing. For marketing, like what are we putting out then and it gets you a better- If you can put that together like you would a story pitch or if you want to be a novelist and you're pitching a novel like you have to think of it that way.

Sorry, Lalita could you just just define the term creative deck?

Yeah, a creative deck is a fancy way of saying a PowerPoints [LAUGHTER] in layman's terms. But typically what it has is it's a proposal. What you're going through for us when it comes to working for like when I did magazine work or what I'm doing now is it lays out the mission of what you're going to be doing for that specific project or writing whatever it is. For instance, this month we're doing, we called it Jalopnik Spring Tune-Up and it's working out a bunch of wrenching articles that talk about things, DIY things you can do on your cars.

But instead of just writing those articles there's, "how are we going to draw more attention to it?"

So we're also going laying out a calendar. What days are we going to be putting up certain articles? Are we going to turn it into something bigger later? We have like a slideshow that basically has all of the articles we've put out so far for this month. But then also how to approach that on social media. I could hand this to you and you could see exactly what we're doing for if it was a month long campaign. What we're doing each day of what's coming in, what's due, what's going to go out and social and sometimes even pre-write some of those posts to give them an idea on what that's going to look like on the page when it does go out.

Wow, that's amazing. Lots of information there. Thank you. Let's go to Troy. I mean, you make videos, so anything you want to add?

Yeah, I think especially in my little corner of media, everything just keeps becoming more and more condensed where everyone's expected to do so many different things. There are infinite paths, but there are two primary avenues when it comes to video I think, where jobs either want you to have strong video editing skills or audio editing skills, same thing for radio and other audio mediums. Knowing those programs.

Or knowing field production.

It's like if you're not doing external production, you might be expected to know how to edit your piece. Or you may be doing field shoots and know how to how to lead a field shoot and that kind of thing.

I mean, in terms of OU, there's radio and TV class or other filmmaking classes. Working through the Oakland Post or WXOU, getting writing samples at the Post. I think those are the biggest things that I can think of. They want hard skills sometimes.

That's so helpful. Thank you. Let's go now to Lucas. Anything you can think of that would be useful. You brought up the workshops.

Yeah. I mean that's why I did videos at my previous and that was- I've been into film making, videography, since I was like six years old. The role actually, it didn't include any of that when I started, but I started in January 2020 and then in March 2020 became a huge part of the role. And writing video content and doing live streams and things like that. That was a big part of it that just was fortunate for me that I already knew how to do that. But in my current job, I think something that I use a lot that I picked up at OU, just learning how to communicate and knowing how to interact with other people and get information from them. Because I interact with a lot of subject matter experts who have the information I need to write down and I need to get it out of them and understand it myself and then figure out how to write it. That's just learning how to listen to people and process information and organize information. Luckily, I feel like that's done in every class. If someone's giving a lecture, that's all your it is, taking that information and processing it yourself.

That's a really big skill that I feel like I use every single day. It's just try and communicate with people, and listen and understand.

Excellent. Thank you so much. Brandon.

My field is a little different, but I've actually had to use a lot of my graphic design background, which includes a little bit of photography, a little bit of video editing. Mainly use it for marketing because a lot of the programs that we want to do for the community, we want to be able to be able to reach them. We do a lot of marketing through social media. That could be creating your own videos or TikTok or whatever.

Any type of graphic design skills definitely will probably help you, especially if you just happen to know web design, that's going to make you more valuable in the long run. It doesn't matter what field you end up, somehow that always comes into play. But one thing that I always was able to take from writing circles was the ability to listen and analyze. Because a lot of the time you have to do a lot of problem-solving. You truly have to understand what the problem is. Break it down, decipher it in order to help someone reach where they need to go. That has always been a helpful thing and I was resistant in writing circles. I'm sorry. But yeah, it was really helpful.

That's terrific. Thank you. The graphic design and also, again, active listening. This works we keep circling back to these really crucial bedrock skills.


It's interesting. I was such a writer when I was graduating from OU and I was so focused on the writing, especially fiction writing, and now most of what I do is graphic design and video editing, that's not something I would have envisioned, but you can surprise yourself by how well all three of those just come together really naturally, and you're able to pump the content out. As far as video creation goes I would say just keep in mind that you're competing with so much media overload. Anybody, you open up any social media feed, and there's just tons of sponsored content and content from all other organizations. I would say keep your videos really tight and less is more. We really try to keep most of our videos 30 seconds or less. You can make a really strong impact in as little as 15 seconds, and I've even done videos that are like barely five seconds long and still get that response that we want to get on social media. Much longer than 30 seconds, you're just not going to have the play through. [LAUGHTER]

The audience, you're going to lose them.

But we use, WeVideo, that's the video creation, the software. I think we're paying for it, it's really user-friendly and it's pretty low costs. If you're just looking for something to mess around with and get familiar with just buy a basic subscription to WeVideo and get in there and start messing around. We use PicMonkey for most of my graphic design, which is also a free, a very low cost software, and we're able to do everything at PicMonkey. Every year we have the same conversation is at time to buy, I can't remember the name of the program, it's like a graphic design program, and we're just able to do everything that we need out of PicMonkey. You just have to be creative and think outside the box and have fun with it. That's the most important thing. If you're nervous about,

"Oh, I don't have any video experience", It's really fun once you get into it, and it'll do the work for you if you're doing it right.

That's so interesting, and a lot of classes now are actually, I am for example, allowing people to make videos as well as writing papers. That's something that you can practice and you might want to do that if your professor gives you that option, just so that you can practice these skills. Then it sounds like you could actually make a 10 second, 20 second video that you can use just like a writing sample for when you go to an interview. I don't know, fuck me- Oh, excuse me. But you understand, any other question? If you ever have any me you know that this is like, par for the course sorry.

I was wondering if you still jump on tables when in the middle of your lectures when you're trying to make a point. [LAUGHTER]

Not anymore because I hurt myself, but I am older, a lot older.

Aren't we all.

But once upon a time I jumped on tables. I would also even roll on the floor if I needed to make an emphasis, but that was not so fun. Anyway, more questions, Brandon?

Real quick. I can't help myself, librarian. If you want a free video software to use and to play around with. There's a software- there is website called Shotcut. It's a free download. I think it's open source, but it's pretty expansive. You would probably need to go onto YouTube and watch a couple of tutorials to really be able to wrap your brain around it. But like I said, it's free. If you just want something to play around with and try to sharpen any type of video skills, I would definitely suggest checking it out.

Oh my God, this is why librarians are heroes. Yay, I love that. Good, fabulous. More questions. Anybody? Comments?

Can I add something that Brandon's video editing thing? I just wanted to say also when you're looking at jobs, I know this is a lot of stuff to take in, but if you apply for something that maybe you can't do like the, I did not know that was a thing, but there are plenty of videos and resources that can teach you how to use various programs. I was doing podcasting during the pandemic and that's how I learned how to edit a podcast by myself. When in doubt, there's always tons of resources to go to for you to learn how to do some things so that you at least have the basics down, and that can get you pretty far.

What a great point. One of the things I wanted to just mention is that a number of people talked about how they had to pivot, how they had to be resilient and adaptable, and for some people that was because of the pandemic, for other people this was pre-pandemic. It was just part of the job evolution. This is a really great thing to keep in mind that every time you do a social media post, every time you make a video or learn how to do some new skill set, you don't know where it's going to take you, but it's another skill that you can build on. For sure go to any of these people who've mentioned these things if this is of interest to you or if you're curious about how to take it further. Because clearly look, look at all the crazy information that they've offered up, and they all started out as readers and people who like to write, and that is the point, is that that skill set is so adaptable and expansive. You have to have courage. You have to reach out to any of us who are talking to you tonight. Because we all know a little bit about these things and none of us maybe knows as much as we'd like to but it's all there. There's a lot of help for you here. Anybody else have comments or questions to add? I see that Brandon put the Shotcut in and Troy put in Audacity Team. Thank you, that's great resources. Anybody else have more comments or questions tonight?

I just going up your comment now Annie. I'm just going to say when you're starting out early in your career path, if you just show up and you're willing to learn and you're open to being really new, and listening to what other people have to tell you and you stick with it, I think that's like 95% of what being successful is all about. Smile when you're at work. I think of it as like when I'm working with my co-workers and other people at Pine Rest, I look at it as like I want to give them the very best version of me. Like I want to give them great customer service. I actually pulled back from my days of waitressing, like, oh, I want to give you your margarita and maybe a free appetizer, because whatever, I just want to give them that great customer service. Keep the good attitude.

It's so important. Sarah, that's brilliantly said because look, use your classroom experience. That's what it's for, you're developing your ability to be an interactive human. Because that's what it is like right now us talking to you and you asking questions, that's what it is. We all need to be able to work collaboratively with whoever we're figuring things out with, and you can do that. But sometimes you need to practice it, and so use your classroom for that. Use your ability to write to reach out for support via email. Use your research skills to develop your knowledge. For example if you're going to one of these interviews, definitely research it beforehand. Definitely figure out what kinds of products they offer. What can you bring to the table? All of these things. You guys are question askers. Ask those questions, be engaged. This is how all of your life will radiate out from that curiosity, that engagement, that desire to be a collaborative human being. For sure. Anybody else have more questions or comments? This is a such a great panel y'all. You have everyone's email, mine, Rachel's, Emily's, and the panel's, so please reach out to us if you have questions that occur to you as you are mulling over all of this. This event will be processed and available as a video, but it probably won't be for at least a few weeks to a month or so. Emily, did you want to say anything else, Rachel?

You can also take a look at prior career nights. We have those posted online as well. I think we've got about three of those, don't we? Sometimes those are worth taking a look at too because we obviously have different panel members and different organizational members joining us in those videos too, so you can access those anytime.

I just want to thank you all for being here. I always love being involved in this event and I think a lot of really awesome things were shared. One of my favorite takeaways that I always love from conversations with more Arts and Sciences type majors is that things you're doing in the classroom are valuable and don't discount your service industry skills and all of these other experiences that provides so many transferable skills. I myself was a COM student and so I definitely feel you all where you're coming from. Thanks to everyone, and I hope you have a lovely night.

I'm just going to tag one more thing because I thought.

The English, Creative Writing and Film Department hosts regular information sessions to guide Creative Writing and English students from their classes to a career. These sessions focus on  several professional topics such as the following to guide you in preparing for a job search:

  • Learn about resume formatting, networking and job search strategies
  • Engage with employers about skills and opportunities
  • Talk with alumni about their career paths and advice
  • Find out about internship opportunities

Stay up to date with upcoming events by viewing the “News” section on the Department of English, Creative Writing and Film homepage and checking in on Oakland University’s Events Calendar.


We are recording and we can now start the program.

Okay, everybody, thanks for attending tonight. We have a great lineup for you this evening and hopefully you'll walk away with some good information about navigating your next step. Tonight we have Emily Cutlip from Career Services and she's going to talk a little bit about some of the resources that you can access over in the center. Then we have Robert Humphrey, who's the recruiter for City Year. That's a non-profit organization and he's going to share his insight about what it's like to work at a non-profit. Then we have a great set of alums tonight for you to listen to their stories. They were once in similar situations as you. They will I'm sure, give you some great information and insight and tips and so forth about getting through your degree at Oakland and then doing a job search and making decisions and so forth. All those things that probably face you in the next few months or perhaps the next year or two. Then we'll have a brief question and answer. So again, you can all along the way, type your questions in the chat or you can pipe up with a raised hand and joining our conversations at any time. So my name is Rachel Smydra. I'm the internship coordinator for English majors. I wanted to provide you with a little bit of information about our internship program. If you can, let me share my screen, Emily.

Of course. Sure. Let me just go to my settings here and I'll take care of that. Thank you so much for your patience. I should have done that initially. Let me see here. Let's see. Thanks again for your patience.

Sorry, it's totally been a minute since I've navigated.

While you do that, I'm just going to do a little plug because Becca's book release was last night and she has just hit the New York Times best seller list. So woo. Righteous.


Thank you for being so patient. There we go. Oh, my goodness. We should be all good. So Rachel, let me know if you're able to do it now, we should be okay.

I am. That works.

Thanks for your patience. Sorry, little bit of a brain moment there, but we're all good.

That's okay. 

Thank you. 

So a good place to locate some information is the English department website. If you click on Internships and Career Resources, that will bring you to this page. We've tried to list a couple of different sets of information here for you. One is a list of available internships that we have secured partnerships with in and around Oakland County, the Metro Detroit area, and you are welcome to take a look at all of this information and email Annie or me for additional information about contacts and just whether or not people have interned here before what the experiences were like and so forth. If you are trying to decide whether to do an internship, I think you're going to hear several people tonight try to convince you to do one. They're great ways to get some professional experience, to familiarize yourself with different work situations, maybe identify skills that you can still work on develop and so forth while you're finishing up your career at Oakland, and may also in a way help you decide what you don't want to do. That was something that happened for me. I did a grant internship and after I finished, I just thought grant writing is not for me. You can do an internship at Oakland for credit or you can pursue this opportunity on your own. I know Emily is going to talk a little bit about finding internships and Handshake tonight too. If you do decide that you want to do an internship for credit, you'll want to reach out to your coordinator of your program and start talking about potential networks and opportunities and so forth that may be out there for you to start researching. Because that's probably the hardest thing to do is actually find the internship that you want to do and secure it. This is a semester long course and you will have to produce a paper. It's not a whole lot of coursework and so forth, but primarily you putting in 8-10 hours a week working at a non-profit or a for-profit company. You can also do an internship, find an internship on OU campus, there's quite a few opportunities that you can access right on campus as well. You can do a virtual internship. So it's really up to you. But I think again tonight you're going to hear people offer up a lot of suggestions. One of those is to do an internship.

So if you have any questions from here on out, just because we have so much to cover tonight, this was really just a very brief overview. The other thing is that you will be able to access past "Navigating the Next Step" videos here - tonight will be posted here eventually. But that's not a bad idea either as to go back and take a look and listen to what alums have to say about their journey. I think just identifying and recognizing that it's not easy sometimes to see a clear pathway with an English degree, but that you can get to where you want to be. Some people do it who graduate with English degrees all the time. So with that, I wanted to turn it over to Emily. She's going to talk a little bit about career services and then she'll pass it over to Robert.

Thank you so much. I think that this is a good transition point. You were talking a little bit about internships, so we'll dive into that in a second. But those of you who don't know me, my name is Emily Cutlip. I'm a Career Consultant in the College of Arts and Sciences. I want to talk with you all a little bit tonight about just some of the things that we offer at Career Services, how we can help you, as well as Handshake. I think that's a big piece of this because Handshake is actually available to students and alum as well. So this is something that anyone can make use of. I'm going to go ahead and share my screen here for a second. What I'd really like to show you all is just a little bit about Handshake, what Handshake looks like. We'll dive into that. Can you see my screen, friends?

Yes, because the Handshake is sweet. First and foremost, before we dive quite into Handshake, I just want to give an overview of Career Services, who we are. So we're an office that services students and alumni, and we help you with really anything and everything career oriented. I know that's a pretty broad brushstroke, but really our goal is to empower you with tools and resources to help you achieve your career goals. Now that can range from things like resume reviews, and mock interviews, and cover letter writing, to LinkedIn optimization, how do I brand myself as a professional? How do I identify jobs and internships and conduct an effective search? But my most favorite thing, actually to talk about with students and sometimes it's relevant to alum as well, is career exploration. I think that's very relevant to this conversation because English, Creative Writing, and adjacent majors tend to be less linear, which is actually a really exciting thing because you can leverage your degree in so many ways and you will hear that from our amazing alum today, but it also requires us to put our thinking caps on and be proactive and think about the skills that we have, how we want to leverage them in ways that we can do that professionally, so that's one of my favorite conversations to have with students. So if you're not sure how you want to use your degree, that's okay.

You'll get inspiration tonight from Robert as well as our amazing alum, and I can help you with that process too. So one of the biggest things that I want you to do if you haven't done it already is log into Handshake. So it's just You login with your OU credentials, and this is what you should see. I want to be super conscious of our time, so I'm just going to hit a couple of really key things in here before I transition to Robert. So favorite things to look at - top left-hand side, I'm going to hit the jobs tab. So this is where you can access relevant jobs, internships and on-campus employment. Every on-campus jobs for students is posted in Handshake. We have hundreds of employer partners like Robert who post their internships and jobs on Handshake. So this should be one of the premier places that you are conducting your search. And you're going to want to make sure that you utilize the filters as well. So just like, for example sake, I'm just going to do really quickly. I'm going to do technical writing - This is going to take two seconds. I just want to demonstrate something to you all. So I typed in technical writing.

I'm going to hit my location 50 miles of the city of Detroit, and let's say that I'm open to on-site or remote and I want an internship.

We went from thousands down to 18 opportunities. Make your life easy. Click ''Save your search'' if you like the results you're getting, and Handshake will notify you anytime things post that meet those search criteria. Another thing, and you all are at this event today, so I know you're doing this, but make sure you keep a pulse on the events tab because this is where you can access a full schedule of Career Services events that we offer up to students and alum, you are always welcome and able to attend those things, whether they'd be virtual, in-person, etc.

But you can see here that we're starting to maybe ramp down a little bit for this semester -

all of our big career fair stuff has passed us by - but there's still a ton of opportunities for you to connect with employers. Here's our event here tonight. So keep your eyeballs on this list because it's a great way to connect with students, alumni, and professionals and employers to help build your professional network. Couple of others quick things and then I'm going to pass it up. Top right hand side, if we jump into the career center, really just two things I want to show you. First and foremost, make an appointment with me.

We do virtual, in-person, phone, email appointments. This goes for alum as well. I'm happy to help you with anything that you might need. It's super simple. We jump into appointments, we schedule a new appointment, and it's pretty much straightforward from there. Maybe if this page wants to load.

Typically what it'll do is it'll give me options for the types of appointments that are offered. Here we go. I'm a CAS student. I want to talk about my resume and then we can jump in from there. I know I'm zooming through some stuff, but I know we have so much great content tonight. The last thing I'll show you: Career Center. We're going to jump into the resources tab. We do offer a variety of career oriented resources for students and alumni in a lot of different buckets. Resume, and cover letter stuff, interviewing, job search, networking, LinkedIn, what have you. This is your source for information outside of an appointment with Emily or another career services professional staff member. Lot of really cool stuff here to check out and browse. That's a tip of the iceberg with career services, but as we always say in our office, early and often engagement is key. It bums us out when we see folks second semester senior year, and you just now want to start thinking about your future career. Let us help you develop a plan, do some exploration, and set you up for success.

I'm going to stop sharing my screen. One of the things that we do is we engage really frequently with really strong employer partners. I would love to invite you, Robert to introduce yourself, and if you can share with us a little bit about what key valuable skills you think that English, Creative Writing, and adjacent majors have brought to City Year and can bring to City Year and then also Annie and Rachel, any other quick questions that we might have for Robert as well.

Awesome. Hello, name is Robert Humphrey. I'm a recruiter with City Year as Emily mentioned. I was going to put a few slides of a

PowerPoint together so you could see something visually, and then I did not.

So you get to just listen to me drone on and look at my beautiful face while I speak.

I work for City Year which is an education non-profit. Before I quickly jump into what I see like the value of English, Creative Writing majors specifically for City Year, I'd like to take a couple of minutes to just say broadly what I think the benefit of just like English and

Creative Writing majors and it's like broadly speaking.

And as English and Creative Writing majors, you probably know this already. But I was an English major myself, so I like to talk up the major a little bit. I think more so than a lot of other majors, English, Creative Writing, and adjacent majors like Communication and stuff, provide students with some of the best like critical thinking, analytical thinking skills like collectively and holistically, more than any other. You are doing things like you are close reading texts and you are delving into these words and these meanings beyond a surface level. When I was in school, my mom sent me a meme before memes were memes that said something to the effect of an author writes, the curtains are blue and an English major is like, well, what does the meaning behind the curtains meaning blue and then a normal person was like, it just means they're blue. I think there's always a meaning behind something else.

These majors really cause you to delve into some of these deeper conversations and beyond surface level thinking that is valuable and transferable to any career that you might want to go into. If you think of like Creative Writing, you're a storyteller. You are conveying emotion, empathy, thought. You're writing these texts that English majors then analyze. You're telling stories in a way that takes your self out of the picture and puts someone else in the space. So English majors, Creative Writing majors collectively, I think, also develops some of the best like communication skills broadly speaking.

Some studies have shown that communication skills is like top three of things that all employers look for, and I think that that is just beneficial and important to have. Again, is very important transferable skill that I think is just useful and another great benefit of these majors. If you look at all English majors and Creative Writing majors, they exist in fields like education and teaching, and non-profit, but also marketing, and finance, and law, and politics, and they're doctors. If you think of some of the other majors, like if you go to school to become an accountant, no offense to accountants, but you're going to become an accountant because that's what you studied. You're really limited in certain other majors. English creative writing really just opens you up to a wide breadth of career opportunities.

Now my ramblings out of the way, [LAUGHTER] talking out what I feel like it's just the best major in the world.

But anyway, my biases kicking in. Let me speak a little bit about a City Year and how some of these skills are valuable within both non-profit broadly and then City Year specifically.

As I said, City Year is an education non-profit.

As an organization - and then this also ties into non-profit, broadly speaking - some of the key things that you need to have a good handle on when you're in that space: Public speaking - despite me stumbling over words right now, I swear I'm not horrible at it - but public speaking, communication as I mentioned earlier, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

You are working in the non-profit field that requires a lot of out of the box thinking sometimes because you have to do things like grant writing and that is highly important.

I know that Rachel was saying earlier that she's in grant writing, but maybe not her thing and that's totally fine. But if grant writing is your thing, then a non- profit space is great for you, because that is how a lot of non-profits get funding. Writing up proposals for community engagement, so employing your strengths that way as well. These are all things that again, non-profit broadly, but City Year is specifically as well.

As an education non-profit, the company itself is in 29 cities across the country, but each site operates locally as well. In our Detroit site, we have to individually interact with the school district, we have to interact with community partners, and we have to interact with local donors and corporate boards, and the way of doing that is having those effective communication skills to talk about why our mission is important and why they should partner with us. Writing those grant proposals as to why some of these corporations should give us money to help fund some of our projects, going out and speaking on the overall mission and vision of City Year. These are all skills that you truly do develop within an English major, Writing major to really truly convey all of these important aspects. I'm going to break down City Year into a bifurcated model very quickly as well. If you will indulge me into this. At City Year, the organization itself is a gap year program for students, so we have the staff side, the non-profit side of it, and then we have our gap year program side. On the gap year program side, we are looking for recent graduates who are willing to give a year of their time after graduation to serve as tutors and mentors to students from traditionally underserved communities working in systemically under-resourced schools. Within that capacity, recent grads will serve in classrooms full time. They work as tutors, predominantly the subject areas of language arts and math to students who are falling behind in that given subject area. As English and Creative Writing majors, because we do focus in one of the fields of language arts, that is a space if you chose to do the gap year program side of it, that would be highly beneficial because you can come and you can make that difference using the skills that you have learned throughout your studies and implementing those in an effective way to help increase educational capacity for the students that you will be working with. Making a long-term difference in that sense. Then I'm going to use that to transition again back into City Year broadly. So a lot of people who do that gap year program, roughly 50 percent of people completing that program then transition into full-time study or staff in some way, shape, or form. We have people in my position who did - I did not do the gap year program, but a lot of people in my position to do the gap year program - on up to the current CEO of City Year and everywhere in-between. I say that to say dividing into is the bifurcated model. The organization doing the gap year program is a very easy transition into the non-profit sector because you are being introduced to some of those skills that again, you developed while being a student, but also that are applicable to the non-profit space. Generally speaking - public speaking, communication, problem-solving,

analytical thinking, grant writing, things along those lines. I threw a lot of words at you. I think I might've covered some of what you wanted me to. [LAUGHTER] I am happy to fill in or answer any questions.

I think you did a really great job, Robert, of highlighting just the malleability of the degree. I knew this inviting you to the event, but I'm really excited that you highlighted the fact that you, yourself are an English major graduate, which is amazing. I really enjoyed hearing more about the soft skills and transferable skills that you see in these students. Annie or Rachel, anything that Robert didn't hit on that you'd like to hear about?

I think it was great. A terrific presentation. Thank you so much Robert, and why don't we let students ask questions of Robert if they have them now so that Robert, you don't have to stay through the whole thing unless you want to. [LAUGHTER]

Maybe you could throw your email address in the chat too. That would be great. I did post the link to your organization and then obviously the Detroit chapter, which I didn't see until I went through a little bit so you can access the website and so forth for Robert's workplace in the chat. Do we have any questions? You can either ask your question or you can type the question in the chat.

It was such a wealth of information. Thank you so much and I'm really just so delighted to hear of the good work you're doing. Thank you again.

Thank you so much. I appreciate it. 

Right on. We're going to switch now to the alumni section. We have five alums here.

Becca has to go first because Becca just had a book released yesterday, and it just hit the New York Times bestseller list. For creative writers, this is mecca, but I do want to note that Becca is also a Senior Account Executive for Campaigns and Corporate Communications for Evoke Kyne PR. What we're just going to do is we're going to go through all five folks and then we'll pause for the Q&A after. Becca, tell us about your job search and your work and of course, that you're also publishing congrats again.

Thank you. Yeah, I'm sorry. I look like such a mess because I was like, I will finish my stuff for my day job and then I still have my work computer pulled up and then have spent the last hour profusely sweating [LAUGHTER] because I'm getting text messages and emails from everybody at my publisher.

I graduated in 2017 with English major and a minor in communication and I will be fully honest. I got my English degree because I was like, I don't know what else to study and I need a degree and I'll just get any job because I'm smart and people don't know how to write, so surely I can find a decent job. I was right. [LAUGHTER] I think for me, I was so nervous that I wouldn't be able to find anything. But what Robert was saying earlier about how like when you are in an English major, you're taught to think critically and pick things apart. You guys would not believe how many people in corporate America cannot think and they can't write an email to save their lives. My resume is a little bit out-of- date, I actually started with a new agency about a month and a half ago. I am now an account supervisor with GCI health, supporting oncology work for Boehringer Ingelheim and then Alzheimer's work for Eisai Co. If any of you saw the news about the new drug that was seen to help with Alzheimer's patients, it's going to be the first drug on the market if the FDA approves it, that's what I work on. My whole day with that really is not just writing, but piecing things together and trying to figure out how to tell a story with really boring medical data that I find really interesting.

It's not like you're an engineer. When you go to school and you're an engineer and you're a doctor it's very easy to go, this is the job I will have when I graduate. I think when you study the arts or whatever your scope is a little bit wider, which is a good and bad thing because you don't know where to start. [LAUGHTER] Which is why I say like being able to think and being able to write you would not believe how many interviews I go into and I'm like, "I don't really want to write for this job" and they're like, "You know how to write? Okay, perfect. Because we're all illiterate.". And you're like, "Okay"

[LAUGHTER] "I guess that's my life now."

Then outside of that, I'm also an author. My first book, published, it' the fifth one that I wrote came out last Tuesday with Simon and Schuster. Then I learned about an hour ago it hit the New York Times bestseller list.

[LAUGHTER] The Indie bestseller list, which I did not expect to happen. It's a young adult fantasy about a witch who is sent to murder a prince because they're supposed to get married so their countries don't go to war. She is like "Well, I'm a lesbian, so I'll just kill him." Then she falls in love with his sister and makes a mess of everything and there's a plague and monsters, and it's a lot. Then I have a middle-grade series starting with Harper Collins next year. I find that I like my day job because I have health insurance. [LAUGHTER] It's really stable and it's nice to be able to put the stuff you learn in undergrad to use on the day-to-day where you're working on campaigns and messaging and keeping materials moving. Then obviously on the creative side, a lot of that gets poured into the books. I think that [LAUGHTER] it's so not necessarily about how creative you are, but some of the discipline that you have to learn when you're in school and they're like,

"You will turn your stuff in on time because you have to hit your deadlines."

Makes for this nice amalgamation of stuff. Yeah, I don't know if any of that is helpful. My brain is a bit scrambled, I was going to be more prepared than this. [LAUGHTER] I apologize.

That's the nature of the stuff. We're just asking for you to tell your story fluently as you totally did. Then again, we're going to save the Q&A for the end. We're going to go to Victoria next, who graduated 2015. Go Victoria.

Hey, y'all doing the mom thing tonight. I'm so glad to be here. Let me pull up my notes because same with Becca, I'm not on the bestseller list, but I do have a child and I guess that's close.

First I just wanted to say thanks for having me here, Annie. As you all probably know because you work with and see Annie and learn from Annie that she's one of the greatest humans you'll ever meet. Just really fortunate to be in this room. I graduated from OU in 2015 with creative writing. Thanks to Annie, she really pushed me into creative writing when I was on the edge and wasn't sure and I'm so glad she did. Then I graduated from Auburn University in 2017 with my Masters in Rhetoric and Composition. Now I lead the global copy team at TripAdvisor. My team writes ads, we write long-form copy, and all of that exists on TripAdvisor and social media. But a majority of my job is helping good writers become better writers. That's a skill that I learned to hone right there in South Foundation Hall, which I guess doesn't exist anymore. I haven't been back to campus in a while. But right in Annie's classroom. She helped me find that strength and she directed me to the writing center, which is where I worked on campus and found a love for writing center studies. That's how I got to Rhetoric and Composition and decided to do a graduate degree. I thought I might want to be a professor, I thought wrong. Not everyone is cut out to do that work. It's amazing work. I was jaded by the drudgery of academia but I was really familiar with it after having been in it for a while. My first job out of school and I won't run through my resume. I'll let you all take a look at it in the folder that Anni shared. But my first job I took out of school was a marketing writer job at Stanford. For me, that was all of my interests lined up in the best ways. All the while I'm doing this work as a copywriter at Stanford, I'm also building my portfolio with side gigs, some paid, some volunteer. I recommend paid to all of you. I recommend that you value your work and I'll get to that in a second. But finally, I built my portfolio up enough and I felt competent enough. When I was ready, I took the leap into copywriting at a tech company and then eventually as a successful freelancer. Now I'm launching my own creative agency. It's been a long and winding path, as you will hear from everyone tonight. That's the way it goes when you're an English major and that's the beauty of it. Before I carry on more about myself, I want to give you all five really tangible pieces of advice. My first one is to work backwards. Think about what your end goal is and then work backward. One of the best things you can do, as Emily was saying, and the reason that you're here tonight is pursue an internship. Seek advice from people who are in that role that you think you want to be in. For me, I thought I wanted to be a book editor. I took an internship at OU with the Dzanc Books. I realized I did not want to be a book editor. That would have been shame if I went to school for four years, went out into the world, and then had no other plans. Work backward, work in that role, talk to people who are in that role, and make sure it's a good fit before you really set your mind on something. Second piece of advice, take opportunities to flex your skills even if you think you might not be interested in them.

Because every piece of your portfolio is like a chapter in your professional story. It's going to show what's unique about you. It's really going to help you cut through the noise. It's going to help you cut through the competition.

Specifically with copywriting, I know I'm speaking at this with a real copywriting lens. But the market is flooded with writers of all experience and talent. Take your gigs, even if they seem like, technical writing, grant writing, maybe that's not for me. Take it, see where your skills line up, make it a part of your portfolio, make it a part of your big picture. Then sub piece of advice there. If you plan on going into copywriting, it's industry standard to have a portfolio.

Before you graduate OU, build yourself a portfolio. You can do it on Wix, you can do it on Weebly or Squarespace, there's a ton of sites out there. But start your portfolio, get some pieces in there, and that's how your career is going to take off. Third piece, stay connected to your network just like this, just like we're doing here today. You can have a 4.0, you can have a textbook perfect portfolio. But if you're not connected, you're not going to find opportunities.

Lean on other people like us, like we're showing up here today for you all. Lean on Annie, lean on Rachel, lean on Emily, these are your people, as Annie told us many years ago. These are your people. This is your village and it takes a village. So don't be a recluse - it's easy to do when you're an English person and when you love your books and when you love your writing. But lean on your people. I've got two more, so hang in there with me.

This is important when you get your job offer. Don't take the first offer. By that I mean negotiate. I don't mean decline the offer, I mean negotiate. At least 10 percent more. They're not going to rescind the offer. I don t think that's ever happened as far as I know in the history of all career finding and recruiting. They're not going to take the offer back because you asked for more money. They will respect you for knowing your value. This is especially important for women and minorities. As much as you just want to hit that reply, yes, thank you, take a beat, give yourself at least a day, maybe 48 hours even. Think through the offer, and then ask for more. Because they can do more and most likely they will. Last piece of advice I have here is to keep your cup full. For me, it's yoga, it's being outside, it's moving my body, it's traveling. In order for me to be a good writer, a good mother, I need to do those things. Don't get so focused on your career that you're not actually living your life and embracing and taking in everything that's going on around you. You have to keep your cup full if you're going to be a creative person and that's what gives your creative juice life. That's all I got.

Man, Victoria, that was wonderful. Thank you so much. I wrote it all down. I can pass it on to others too. That was terrific. Thank you. I'm going to now turn to DJ Bond, who is the Community Engagement Librarian at the McDonald's Public Library, and is also a comic book author and illustrator as well, wonderful stuff. Not an illustrator just a writer.

My journey is a fun story.

When I was at OU I had an opportunity to do a very special capstone, which was special topics. That year we did comic books and graphic novels. Which at the time I didn't realize how important that was going to be later, but it was what really got me interested in comic books as a medium. Realizing that I could write comics, I started really low key, just making my own little sketches and designs, and publishing my own indie blog with my comics. To which I started realizing that I was not that great at drawing, but [LAUGHTER] it was something that I was really excited about. In the meantime, I needed money.

Originally, I worked on campus a lot. I worked in admissions, I did a lot of stuff with the university that helped me launch into jobs later. I ended up going back to school too, for my master's, I went for my MBA. Which a lot of people were like, why would you get your MBA with a Bachelor's in English? You won't be prepared for this at all. I was the most prepared out of a lot of people.

Because let me tell you, a lot of business people don't know how to write and they're all going to come for you and be like, "Hey, can you be on our team, can you write this large project?" I'm like "I got you." I graduated with my Master's, with my MBA, and I started looking for jobs. The best advice that I can give you is if you are really hitting a wall with looking for jobs and you need something, start volunteering at places. At the end of my resume, I worked at Rochester Public Library. I started volunteering there and then they ended up bringing me on part-time. That's how I started getting involved in libraries.

Which ended up coming back later. I got a lot of experience designing posters, and displays and all different kinds of things. Because again, I needed to know how to write. I also used my skill set to design all different kinds of things for the library itself, doing social media. That ended up leading to a job where I was working in tech. Ironically, I was supervising a team who was doing all different kinds of code. I didn't have a background in code, but I was an English major, so I could edit everybody's code because that's something that you can do, it's a language, so what's the difference? A lot of people that I was working with were English majors who worked in tech because they know how to write and code is a language. I ended up doing that. When the pandemic hit, I switched. I ended up coming to financial aid for a little bit. If you saw me there, hey. But shortly thereafter I ended up in my role, which is the most hybrid out of everything that I've done. My current job at the library requires me to do all the different kinds of writing for press releases, manage a team of staff that works at the library, make sure that I'm creating a collection for library including graphic novels, and just overseeing all different kinds of events. All the while, I was working on my comic book. I had been working on a script the entire time, I had been writing it, revising it, editing it. I had been pitching it to different places, had a hard time really getting through. But what I ended up doing was saying, I'm going to make this happen. I'll do what I need to do, I'll make it happen. I found artists that I really like, we started collaborating on this project. I ended up doing a kickstarter for it and it was successful.

Definitely a nail biter, but it was successful. [LAUGHTER] I was able to create a comic book. That we're getting ready to do another one for. That's my story.

My biggest piece of advice that I can say is, if you have a dream, don't give up on it just because things turn left. You got to keep pushing forward regardless of what happens.

Thank you so much DJ. That is so exciting and inspiring. I'm just juiced for the next comic book that you're going to do. It's so delightful. Let's go now to Michael Locklear, he's an account manager at McNaughton-McKay, which maybe I pronounced right, maybe I didn't know. Hi, Mike.

Yeah, you got it. Thanks again for having me Annie. I think you got a really great turnout here too. I think everybody realizes that anybody would do anything for Annie. I'm here just for you, Annie. [LAUGHTER]

Basically, following up on what Rebecca said about getting her English Lit degree mine is similar. I was playing to my strengths. I knew that I enjoyed reading, and I knew that I can b.s. with the best of them, so I figure I get the English degree, and then I can make it work for me. That's how it ended up going for me. My path started pre-graduation, my final semester there, I had an internship at a mental health and a addiction facility. It was the most fulfilling, and rewarding experience probably still to this day that I've had in any workspace. It really sparked a passion for me in community service, and just finding fulfillment and helping others. Pre- graduation, I'm looking at setting up applications to work for non-profits and charities, and with the Department of Defense, I have a strong passion for the military as well. I set up a bunch of applications for DOD, non-profits, community service, or any way that I can get back to the community, and just kept coming up snake eyes.

Many other people have said as well though, you have bills to pay, you got real life comes and kicks you into butt, you got to get moving. I ended up taking a couple of jobs that I knew weren't going to be perfect fit for my temperament, but I needed to pay the bills. The first one, first job I took post-graduation was at Quicken Loans downtown. The work environment wasn't bad. The people I worked for weren't bad. Everything else just did not fit me well at all, so the transit time - driving through downtown in rush hour traffic every single day, thinking about having to do that for the next 30 years - that wore on pretty much. So that plus just talking about refinanced mortgages, and it just wasn't a good fit for my patience level. I'm not good - just sitting here for an hour straight can be hard for me. I need to be up, and moving and getting things - I need to keep my blood flowing. I realized that was not something I could be doing for the next 30 years. During that time at Quicken Loans, my dad was working at McNaughton-McKay, where I'm at now, and he carved out a really successful living as a salesman here. I always rejected even applying at McNaughton-McKay, because I'm a proud person. I didn't want to be known as Johnny's son every day when I came into work. I didn't even apply there until I was at Quicken Loans, and I really realized I need a job, and if worst comes to worst, I can carve out a long-term career here, and make a good living. I got in at McNaughton-McKay working in the warehouse on the afternoon shift, just grinding sometimes 12, 14 hour days being basically a glorified counter. I'm sitting there feeling unfulfilled every single day and just grinding everyday. The same time I keep my eyes and ears open for non-profit jobs, charity jobs, DOD jobs at the same time. Still nothing coming up. I decide I'm going to really dig in here and start carving out in my path within the company. I start bouncing around internally. So I apply and get the job at the front counter. Then from there I apply and get the job in purchasing. There's a common denominator is that my interviews are going really well. This is where just now come back to the job search, and everything at another time. But this is what I want to stress the importance of my English degree has really come throughout the job interview process. You think about writing a term paper in your English Lit.

You're forming an argument and you need to be able to research it and communicate that argument either vocally or in a written form. That's how I approach every job interview that I go into; coming in, arguing for myself, and why I'm the best person for the job. You do your research on the company, the role. You do some internal research on yourself, on where you can be a little bit boastful to make yourself look good in a job interview setting. Then that's - I took my experience from the classroom, and brought it into the job interview process. Hopefully you haven't been coasting too much during the discussions because you really get to work on your vocal communication when you're trying to get your arguments out in front of a room full of your peers. That's the same situation in job interview setting. I wanted to stress that's where - that and I do a lot of presentations in my current role now. Public speaking is important, but the job interview process, and gaining success in your career through the interview process, that's where I've utilized my English Lit degree the most. But from purchasing, I was not happy again, being stuck in front of a computer all day just responding to emails, and doing data entry, does not fit my personality, and my temperament at all. Just sitting around doing clock watching, wondering when I can get to go do something fun. From there I had to really do some soul searching, and decide that, listen, I'm a lot like my dad. Maybe he loved his job for a reason. I tried going down the sales avenue, and as soon as I got into the sales department, I realized this was the spot for me. I'm having more important commerce - I can admit this about myself, I have a need to feel important. So I need to be having important conversations. I need to feel like I'm having an impact on the people around me and the company that I'm working for. I never felt that until I got into sales. Even though, still sales, you're stuck in front of the computer doing data entry, you're still having more important conversations and I felt useful. From there, I got lucky enough that a business development position opened up seven months later, and I was doing really well in my current role, so I applied for that role, got it through a strong interview process. That was basically a hybrid role of inside sales, and outside sales. Outside sales is more your on-site with the customer. You're getting in front of the customer, and talking big picture projects in forecasting budgets for the next quarter, the next year, something along those lines. The business development is like a hybrid role of inside sales and outside sales, preparing you for the senior account manager position that everybody that is in sales wants to get to work. Then I was in business development all of this last year, and then just recently, three weeks ago, we had two senior account managers say they're retiring at the end of the year.

We had an interview process come up for two of those, and one of my business development co-worker, and myself ended up getting it. We are now both senior account managers, and this is the last promotion I'll be receiving until I retire because I'm no longer going anywhere. It's been a real whirlwind the past couple of weeks, I've never been busier in my life, but it's been all good things. Just to circle back on the service, and the charity, and finding fulfillment in your work. Obviously this was not my first choice, it wasn't my second, third, fourth - t it wasn't even on the playbook after I graduated. But now that I'm in a place, and I've made my foundation at Mac and Mac. You find out there are ways for you to scratch certain itches that you do have. It's a matter of perspective. There is a charity wing that is, that we run at our company that does donations, and helps out for people within the communities that we work at. I joined that charity team, and then within a year ended up becoming chairman of that charity committee. Then I have now oversaw the last two, three years, several big projects with the Ronald McDonald House. We did a bunch of meal preps, and donations for several of the Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the entire country.

We did gift baskets - products and gift baskets for troops overseas, which is near and dear to my heart. Then most recently, again near and dear to my heart, and biggest we've ever done for the committee, we put together a scholastic book drive for Title One elementary schools, and we donate it about $100,000 worth of books to the students nationwide. I've found a way to scratch that passion for, and find that fulfillment and service and carve out a better living for myself and my family. It's all working out.

Wow, that is just such an inspiring story, and I just love because I know how much that internship meant to you. I know there was a charity wing, but you now are it.

I'm glad you said that. Now I'm rotating out as chairman so they keep it so that you give other people an opportunity to lead the committee. I'm rotating out at the end of the year, and I'm also part of the leadership development program at work as well. The final project of that program, they want you to like to put together some project. I've always said that we can do more in the communities. I'm always an advocate for doing more in the communities. As part of our pillars at our company. So I told them it's a lot harder to get things past, and to do things, and 26 different branches and 26 different geographical locations. Whereas if I'm just running things here in Michigan, I can get a lot of good done without having to get approval by 26 different regional heads. I'm moving into a new leadership role on top of my account manager role, where I'll be overseeing community service events here in Michigan.

That is wonderful, so cool.

Our last speaker tonight is Liz Casselman. She was Liz Haliboo as DJ remembers, but she's now Liz Casselman. Liz, take it away.

Not really sure how I follow up after all of that, but quick side note, I actually still dance with DJ's sister and DJ's mom. So we do dance recital during June. It's wonderful. We wear the costume. I'm an English major. I graduated in 2012. As everybody else will attest, I will literally do anything Annie asks me to. Ask me to do more things, I will do them all. She was such an incredible mentor, not only like in the English, writing and all of that, but just like in my life in general. [LAUGHTER] If you're not taking all of her class to take all of her classes. I took classes I never would have taken because she was the professor. Like writing fiction, which ended up being my favorite class. I took my capstone course with her. She was my mentor on my Honors College thesis. She wrote a recommendation letter for an Alumni Award. She's just an amazing person. If you aren't taking advantage of that, please do. Although Career Services in general, every college student I talk to, I'm like, you guys do not understand how many resources the Career Center has for you and can offer for you. You're in college, you're not thinking that far ahead. They're doing it for you. They're doing so much work for you that will put you so far ahead. Anyways, I got my English degree in 2012 and I was very much so a checklist person. I knew what I wanted to do, where I want it to go. I was going to go to law school and I was going to get the easiest degree I could to get to law school. Law school doesn't really care what degree you have. Also I love reading. I actually powered through my undergraduate degree in three years. I got into law school, I went to Wayne. I graduated in 2015 and a little bit like Michael I never wanted to work with my dad who is an attorney. I was like, "I'm going to be a politician, I'm going to be a prosecutor." I had all these ideas of what I wanted to do. I was a waitress all throughout undergrad and law school. My first internship at a law firm with a personal injury law firm. They literally made you record what you did every hour of the day.

And it can get a little dehumanizing. 

I was very good at combing through medical records. I think my English degree helps you with that. But in terms of like soul sucking, that was definitely number 1. My dad's said, come to my office one day. If you hate it, you never have to come back and I never left. I do work with my dad and I work with two of my brothers. I started a title agency my last year of law school with the help and support of my father. But he was basically like, "I don't want to do it. We need it, but I don't want to run any of it." We started that in 2015. It was just me and one other guy. We now have 12 employees. In 2018, we had the opportunity to purchase a existing title agency in Adrian, Michigan from the retiring owner.

We went ahead and bought that and that had 10 employees. Then in 2018, when this came over, we had this opportunity I spent four months of my life transitioning a company that shared computers did not have their own email addresses, but everyone had a typewriter, that was helpful, except not at all. My dad told my brother Peter and I, "I've basically taken you as far as I can. I think you guys should take some more classes" and we ended up getting our MBAs. We did the Executive MBA program at OU and it was fascinating. DJ is 100 percent right. Where are you? Over there. They don't know what they're doing. They were all like, why are you guys so good at this? Peter's also an English major from Oakland University and we're like, "I don't know what to tell you it's tell you. This isn't crazy for us, we can write papers in our sleep and not because we're lawyers because that's really not what we do." At the end of 2020, we ended up buying a commercial door company from a retiring owner. So we have this portfolio of very random disconnected businesses that somehow we're able to use our skill. I'm saying we because Peter has that English degree and it helped me and him do what we do every day. A couple of things I wanted to go over again, obviously the critical thinking, skills and analysis, close reading. Communication is huge. There are so many people who are not able to succinctly, efficiently communicate. If it's email, if it's a presentation, if it's face to face, if its your interview skills like Michael was talking about, they just cannot say like, "This is what I want" and how to get it. It ends up being not a great path for them. There are so many ways that that skill alone can help you in any career that you decide to go into. Another thing that I'm finding. I was presented with an opportunity this year which really bored me. We worked with a lot of banks and I had a bank ask me to join their board of directors. I was like, "I am not qualified for that." They were like, "We would love to have your opinion." I was like "Do you?"

They were like, "No, we just really need a woman on the board." And I'm like, "Well, my opinion comes with this."

Companies do actually want you to speak your mind. They are over that full 'yes man' mentality and being able to come in and say, "Hey, I went through this training program and here's some holes in it that I didn't love, that I love to work with you on a solution." Not just presenting problems, but always having a solution. Communication is key. In the last part that has benefited me in employee relations - I'm on the board of a non-profit, like just everything that you put yourself into - is perspective. I will never forget. I took a Wednesday night Brit Lit class with Annie and I usually love books. I hated this one book. I don't even remember the title, but it was James Joyce. By the end of the lecture. I could appreciate his work. I still don't like it, I would never re- read it. I don't have the book, but Annie made me appreciate what that work of literature brought to the industry. Having that ability to step inside somebody else's perspective and say, "How does this person's see that?" I really think that's the only reason, like my whole job is employees now. I've gotten out of the outside and I just want to make my employees lives really, really good. You work so much. Being able to sit there and say, "What is your life like?" "What is your day-to-day?" "What are your concerns?" "You don't really care if we have pizza on Friday, you care that you have health insurance." "You care that you get paid." "If you get all of those things plus pizza, great." "But we have to start with your needs." That perspective is something that you get in this degree, 100 percent. You're practicing it, you're honing that skill. It's a muscle and you're training it. I am just like dying of jealousy for all of you creative people and the amazing things you've done. I felt like I was on that checklist and I had to just keep going. I will say that in my notes app on my iPhone, I'm like writing these short little stories and they're just for me and they're super fun. But I love that that creativity is coming out too. You can have that very corporate, very straight-laced. It's like, "I'm an attorney, great." But you need to be that other part of you because every single one of you have it, you wouldn't be in this degree if you didn't. Perspective is huge and being able to empathize, like you do with the with the characters on those pages, you're going to empathize with that person you're interviewing or that person you're working with, your client, the person you're trying to sell to, what do they need? How do I make this look appealing? It's just really invaluable. Whatever your path ends up being, if you really focus on those skills, like Victoria said, find that fun. Find that creativity. If it's like writing a silly little thing in your note app that you've never shared with anyone [LAUGHTER] not even your husband's like.

"What? I didn't know about that."

"Don't worry about, its not done." "I'll show it to you later." I just really think that that's cool.

Also, I picked up crocheting in the last month. 

Just do what you got to do. I don't know. That's it. I don't know if any of that was helpful, but I'm very honored to be asked to talk here. Annie is amazing, Career Services is amazing. Just like congratulations to all the alums because you guys are killing it.

Thank you so much. I love that you guys are all circling around to your joy, which is why you were English majors and Creative Writing majors in the first place. That is really nice and I think it's really important for students to hear that because that's what keeps us going. That's why we are all here right now. You guys were lavishing the praise, but the truth is that you guys are the greatest thing about this job. I hate meetings, normally, but this meeting is like, [NOISE]. I'm so happy and I love to hear all the great work you're doing. I love that you guys are turning around and helping our students be encouraged because it is scary and you know that just like they know that. It's really, really terrific. You guys are all amazing human beings. I love you so much. Let's open up the floor. Does anyone have comments or questions for anybody? Isaac.

I have a question for Becca.

For Becca, could you go more in detail about your journey like as a writer, you said you wrote five books and it was your fifth one that got published?

Yes [LAUGHTER] When I meet aspiring authors, I'm like, "I'm going to break your heart." If you want to be [LAUGHTER] traditionally published, you need to get a literary agent. Which means you have to like write the whole book and edit it a bunch and then you basically write something called the query letter, which is a pitch letter. Send it out to agents and they all say no and you do that for years and years. I wrote four books before "The Ones We Burn" and one of them I just was like no. But [LAUGHTER] three of them I queried before I signed with a literary agent and then she sold the book to Simon and Schuster and then I spent like three years editing it. Because once you sell it, it's not like they just publish it. Like your editor is like this is bad, fix it and then you spend many more years working on it. My timeline was a little bit longer because two weeks after I had my first call with my editor, I slept on ice and hit my head so I actually have a brain injury so I couldn't read or write for like four or five months, I think and I'm like, I think I'm like 90 percent recovered. [LAUGHTER] So that all of those stretch things out a little bit. But it's very common that like from the time you start pursuing publication, like I created my first book when I was 18 and I'll be 28 in February. So it's a it's a long haul you have to be dumb. I think [LAUGHTER]

I've done a little bit of that. I have one manuscript that I have completed and what shocks me about it is you hear things like the first Harry Potter book was rejected 13 times. Like, I didn't even have track of the number of agents. I've queried to that every [OVERLAPPING].

Isaac. I think you're in my class next semester, is that right? In my 4200 class?

Sounds right.

We'll be going over this stuff and telling each other all the stories. But right now I just want to make sure we have time for everyone's questions since we are - but yeah. If you have a follow-up for Becca for sure. Offer it up, but we want to stick with the questions for now.

That answered my question. 

Thank you. Anybody else have follow-ups for Becca and the book? I mean, I know there's a lot of interest in the books, oh my God. It's so important to remember how disciplined you have to be. That is like you have to just be willing to follow the arc for a really long time and just be patient. As people have said again and again, like turning in your papers, following up on critiques from your teachers, all that stuff is part of it. Do I have more questions for anybody? Josh?

I have a question for Emily, but I guess anybody could answer it. I'm graduating in a few weeks [LAUGHTER] I don't have any internships or really that much experience at all so it's [LAUGHTER] like where do I even start? Like as far as what's to be the first step, I guess.

Yeah, that's a really good question and the first thing I'll say is that it's never too late. I don't believe that it's ever too late. Everyone just starts in their own journey. What I'd recommend to you is I think that you and I should meet together to develop a plan. I'll put my info in the chat. But when we think about like building up your resume, we tend to think about experience in a - we don't consider all of the things that could be seen as experience. So like a lot of times folks will say like, "Well, I haven't had an internship, therefore I have no experience." But it's about so many other things. It's about the projects you did in your class. It's about volunteerism, student orgs, transferable skills, which you all heard so much about transferable skills here tonight. I would say that a good step forward would you and I getting together me learning more about what your goals are and then we need to put together a plan together. We need to put a plan together. For how we might go about structuring your resume, LinkedIn profile, things to reflect your goals, and then how do we strategize in terms of job and/or internship searching. And chances are you have a lot of relevant experience that we could position as very strong. I think we tend to be our own worst critics and think we have air quotes, "no experience" when the truth is, you have a lot of great skills to offer. I will put my information in the chat, but it's never too late. We can work on this together and you're going to be great. You're going to do great things. >> I know Josh so I can tell you, Josh that you are just like Mike in that you are going to blow away anybody who's interview you walk into like you have the best people skills, you're so warm your so empathic, you're all ready, poised.

So it looks like Alaina.

Alaina wants to thank you. Alaina, in addition to this - because we record these now, we have other events like this. But I really want to stress that you guys find - copy the links with all of the alum's resumes because they are so generous and letting you see them.

That is going to really help you because you'll see that each one looks different. Each one tells its own story, because every Creative Writing, and English major, has a different path, their own path, and they move differently through a series of different careers and it's because you can do so many things that you don't have a preset plan as Robert had said. You aren't going to be a nurse or an engineer because you do need credentials for that. But you can be just about [LAUGHTER] anything else and so it's really important for you to go, "I want to do something I love, I care about" and that's what Emily is going to help you to do. For sure meet up with your career people because they are your advocates. They have so much insight.

And it's also nice to know that Emily herself was an English minor at OU. Great. Thank you, Josh for saying it and thank you also Alaina for saying what people are often afraid to say, which is that it's terrifying. I want to just tell you guys, I fled the country when I was graduating college. I was just like, I cannot do this. I'm running away and I went to Portugal and lived there for a year teaching English because I was just like "Noo!"

And so we all find our ways and this is the cool thing about it. 

People are putting in their email addresses so that's telling you, "Hey, I want to help you." One of the things that as English majors and Creative Writing majors, I hope you know, is that one of the best ways is to ask questions. To go, "Hey, what did you do to get to where you are now?"

And we all love to tell stories, so we will start talking to your ear off. So that's a thing to remember, that's part of your networking strategy. More questions.

Can I piggyback off that real quick. One thing that I will say, too, as someone who often hires is make sure there's a lot of places out there that are like, "Hey, we can give you a template for your resume, will make it look pretty and you'll be able to have it and sent." The problem is that sometimes you get like three candidates with all the exact same looking resume. [LAUGHTER] Just make sure that you customize your template. I have this book that I picked up. It's "Modernize Your Resume." It's a Really Fun book and it has a ton of actual examples of resumes with a bunch of different fields which I always really appreciate. I pick this up in 2020 when I wanted to redo my resume and I figured I'd use the Adobe suite to just make it look different than I knew a lot of people looked. That was one of the things that helped me get my job today was the fact that my resume looked different than a whole lot of other peoples.

That is so cool DJ.

What is also nice about that is that's just reflective of your work with comics, because you spent [OVERLAPPING].

Yeah same skill set. [LAUGHTER] I use the same skill set to letter my comics. I just do it for my resume [LAUGHTER]

That is so cool and it helps reflect back to everyone that your journey is going to be personally yours, not anybody else's. You can't compare yourself, but you can learn from everyone. Good more questions. Anyone? Jordan?

I was wondering, do you guys offer editing meetings, not editing meetings but meetings where you can look over someone's story idea? Because I'm a freshman here at OU. I'm Creative Writing specializing in fiction, and I'm currently in the process of writing my own story, and I've gotten critique from my friends, but [LAUGHTER] they're not really professional. [LAUGHTER] I was trying to find someone who would be willing, [LAUGHTER] my first chapter I made a draft, is just a draft of the first chapter and I wanted someone professional to look at it.

That's what the workshops are. Who's going to speak to that? Some of my creative writing people. Go ahead, Victoria.

I think that's awesome. I just want to say from the outset that you are not afraid of people looking at your work. That is a huge courageous thing, and I think it's awesome that you want eyes on your work. My best advice outside of the workshops - the workshops are the heart and soul of your writing journey - and outside of that, if you want further feedback, I recommend checking out The Writing Center. It's a free resource. So it's for research papers. It's for every other writing assignment you have. But there are also writing consultants at The Writing Center who specialize in creative writing. That was me and I loved it. I loved when I had recurring clients come back and say, "Hey, can we meet every Tuesday that you're working for the rest of the semester and you can help me with this?" "You can continue to give me feedback as I get feedback from my workshop."

And we work together and it was awesome, and then there's that continuity too. You can choose to have multiple eyes on it or you can choose to have one person focusing on you. It's a free resource to you. It's right in the library. Highly recommend.

Totally. I couldn't have said it better. Thank you, Victoria. I do think that that's also part of the journey, is that Victoria was in the workshop just like a number of the people on this call, but Victoria also went to The Writing Center and then by helping other people, her own writing just got stronger and stronger. Jordan, that's part of what the workshops will do for you. But in addition to your workshop, which you'll be doing all that and you'll get lots of feedback, and then by going to The Writing Center, you expand that circle.

The other thing that I really recommend is that you make connections with your workshop people and do critiquing outside of class. We also have something called the creative writing club, and these are us. These are the people who are just reading and writing because this is what gives them life, and those folks will read your stuff in the workshop, in the club setting, but then also, in most of my classes, because of the tech, people are making group chats or Discord sessions, etc. That way they can continue to work together outside of class and beyond the classroom, which is what you need. Becca, did you want to speak to that, Becca?

Sure. I just didn't want to interrupt. I was just going to say that the best improvements to my writing always came from giving feedback to others, I think because, well, one, if you decide to pursue publishing, people will tell you, don't read reviews because [LAUGHTER] there comes to a point where they're not that helpful, but I have found that reading other people's work, or even if a book comes out and it does really well and you think it's terrible, reading it to figure out why people like it is one of the best things you can do for your craft. And all of the improvements in my writing have come from figuring out what other people are doing and why it's working or why it's not working. I think it's very, like Victoria was saying, it's awesome that you already want people to look at your work because some people never get there, and I think have that same curiosity with other people's because you'll be amazed at how much you can learn when you find people that you can exchange work with, especially if you can find writer friends where you get in a groove and you start to recognize their fingerprints. One of my good friends is Grace. D. Li, she wrote Portrait of a Thief, which came out in March and hit the New York Times list, and The Sunday Times list, and all this stuff. And we've been friends for seven years, and I've read all of her books before they come out, and I cannot stress enough, I know a lot of writers don't want it, when I was young, I didn't want to hear, you have to read other people's stuff, but it is so helpful. And I'm excited for you that you are already writing, good for you.

You're asking questions, you're already ahead of so many other people.

Terrific. Yes.

Just, Jordan, in case you didn't see, Josh put the link for the Creative Writing Club's Discord link. For sure, if you're not with them, you want to join them because those are your people and they're already in a group, and so you're just like, "I've already got my community." It's so fun. Good. More questions from anyone.

My God, this was so fun you guys. Students just look at these people one more time.

Gus said that the invite said that it was invalid. I don't know what that means, but Gus and Josh, maybe you can get on this and figure it out. But back to my little love session. Thank you, guys, so much. Students, look at these alumni because this is you in five years, 10 years, 15 years. This is what's going to happen. You're going to be here telling other students about your journey, and it's a great way to stay connected and to just join the love-in that is Creative Writing, and English, and the reading, and the joy of it all. You guys are amazing. Oh, my God, thank you so much.

Thanks everybody for joining us tonight.