Professional, Knowledgeable, Young – You Can Only Choose 2.


I can’t be the only person with this problem. As an early college graduate, I had my first job at the ripe age of 21. Sure, age isn’t brought up much in the corporate world (I assume because most people are as bad of a judge of age as myself), however when you look like a high school senior, it doesn’t help. Lucky for me, my first two jobs out of college were at advertising agencies, which are quite a bit more laid back then corporate offices. That also can be damaging to someone who needs to dress “older”.

I’ll never forget my first client meeting – I had been working with the client for about a month, and brought them in to review ideas for upcoming promotions that had previously been OK’d. After printing booklets and preparing all morning, the client walked in and gave the worse stare down I’ve ever had. He immediately disliked our ideas, and made us redo them four times (to the point that it ended up being the original promotion we suggested!) The entire time I worked on his account, regardless of the success we had, he questioned my judgement because I was “just a kid.”

Some things you can’t change – and in 15 years, I’ll be yearning for the days of being “just a kid,” but for now, it’s important to me to rise above the “young” stereotype. I make it a point to shake hands with a strong grip, look people in the eye, and avoid the filler phrases (at work at least, at home, I am stuck on “like.”) I’ve graduated from ill-fitting black pants and J.Crew sweaters to well-fit blazers and lady-like dresses, but I do not own a suit set. I make sure my actions speak louder than words – I get results, regardless of my age. And at the end of the day, I know I have some growing to do, but I won’t let that interfere with my success.

Have you had any #PostGradProblems yourself? 


Tale As Old As Time

Today marks something more special than Friday the 13th. More special then the Blake Shelton concert (which might be because I don’t have tickets), and more special than the start of the weekend. Today marks the theater release date for Beauty & The Beast in 3D.

The movie, released in November of 1991, didn’t necessarily change my life, but it did have a HUGE impact. Now, my mother felt that I was a little too young to sit still in a theater (my first big screen adventure was Aladdin. different story for a different day), however, when it came on VHS, I was hooked. I ran around my house holding a basket filled with Little Golden Books singing (or screaming) “here’s where she meets prince charming, but she won’t discover that it’s him til chapter treeeee!” Don’t judge – I didn’t understand the ‘H’ concept in words.

Beauty and the Beast also brought along a very important relationship to me – my grandma. She became just as infatuated with the characters as I did, and with a disposable income that I was missing, started to collect memorabilia. Her favorite, Mrs. Potts, filled her curio cabinet with music boxes, ceramic figures, and even a closet jewelry box with Mrs. Potts jewelry! Going to Grandma’s was the best. We’d watch the movie, then take all of the music boxes out of the cabinet and wind them up. And in that moment, I was the luckiest kid in the world.

After that magical time, my VHS found it’s way to a storage space in the basement. But I never forgot it. And once I got into college, I realized I wasn’t the only one. I can’t explain how many times we sat and watched that (along with other Disney classics) in 311 at Alpha Phi. Beauty & The Beast made every little girl feel like a princess, and taught us that good things happen to those who not only wait, but learn to love the person inside.

Sure, I’m nearly 23. I have no children to pass this movie on to, but you can bet that I will be sitting in a theater reminiscing my childhood this weekend. Because in all honesty “adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”

Getting Personal

Grown Up, Year One

It’s incredibly hard to believe that a year ago tomorrow, I graduated college. Three and a half years of finals, papers and projects all cumulated to that very moment where I crossed the stage. That being said, I’ve complete year one of adulthood, if you will. I figured I’d document some things I’ve learned.

It’s not easy. How I long for the days of 11am classes, Thirsty Thursday’s at Harpos and afternoon naps. The 9-5 world is just that – business, 9-5. Or, like most advertisers, closer to 8-6. Sure, the whole paycheck thing is awesome, but the free time isn’t close to being comprable.

Work isn’t perfect. Like most proud J-School grads, I expected some $50,000 glam job doing social media for a powerhouse like Budweiser or Old Spice. That didn’t happen. My first job was not a good fit for me at all, but I learned a lot. Will I go back to media? No. Did I really need to know the inner workings of a cow’s digestive system? No. But it’s experience, and an interesting conversation piece.

Respect is earned. I can’t emphasize that enough. It probably doesn’t help that I have a baby face and look like a 16-year-old without the acne, but you have to work very, VERY hard to gain respect out of college. Just because you show up with a degree doesn’t mean you’ve earned your stripes.

Living on your own is not what you did in college. Sure, I had an apartment, I had roommates. I had to buy groceries and pay electric bills, but that was all highly supplemented by my parents. Being on my own now, I realize the importance of budgeting and free time. Laundry doesn’t do itself, trash does not get taken out automatically, and you have no idea how grateful you are for your parents until you’re no longer living with them and calling them up to install a shower head for you.

B-Averages no longer cut it. To give myself credit, I was an A-B honor roll student. However, in the real world, that missed  comma or misspelt word that would have gotten a few points off now can cause meetings with your boss, client, or worse – HR department. Practice makes perfect is no longer the motto – get everything right the first time by double and triple checking your work is.

Responsibility is nice. I wasn’t allowed to have a dog as a child, teen, or college student. Now, living on my own, I was able to get Yadi. Yes, he’s a damn handful, but I enjoy being responsible for him and myself. When you have to count on yourself, you quickly learn to appreciate what you do.

Life goes on. I had a breakdown or two that I wouldn’t ever see my friends after graduating early. That’s false. Keeping your relationships is just as important as landing a job. Are their things I miss about college life? OF COURSE. But all in all, I’m enjoying the grown-up life.

Parks Picks

Top 5: Things You Didn’t Know About Me

NOTE: This is going to be a new weekly feature – top 5 lists! Snap at me if I don’t get another up by next Wednesday 🙂

When you have writers block, it’s always easiest to go back to what you know best. And what better do I know then myself?

1. I make a killer grilled cheese. OK, maybe you did know this. But you don’t know the back story! As a child, if it didn’t have cheese on it, you could guess that I wasn’t coming near it. Dubbed the mouse of the family, my mother would make me her classic grilled cheese on sick days, cold days, or when her and my dad were eating some gross dinner (you know, chinese, tacos, turkey…yeah, I was picky). It became my number one comfort food, and I would make it whenever – including 2am with people over. Needless to say, it became a hit, and is now requested anytime we have people over.

2. I have a serious obsession with shoes. This goes back generations. My grandma worked in the Famous Barr shoe department at Crestwood Mall for over 20 years. I received a shoe horn for Christmas as a child. Not to mention, my mother and my aunt combined have as many shoes as a DSW store. Lucky for me, my 5’1” frame allows me to purchase and wear any and all types of shoes, especially heels. Needless to say, my little shoe rack will probably not suffice in the years to come.

3. Keith Urban kissed my hand. Back in 2002, before this Australian heartthrob really burst onto the scene, he was doing a small tour with Trace Adkins. They stopped by Six Flags St. Louis, and as it was included in my season pass, I went with two friends. This was a good year for concerts, considering the lead singer of Lonestar also put his arm around me and sang to me. So, my friends and I went down to the side of the stage where tickets weren’t sold due to equipment blocking the view. We, however, could see fine. Sure enough, we’re right up next to the stage, and after he finished singing “Somebody Like You,” we squealed (in pure 7th grade style) “WE LOVE SOMEBODY LIKE YOU!” And, in true heartthrob form, Keith jumped off stage and came over. He took my hand and kissed it, and blew kisses to my other friends. If I were them, I’d still be jealous.

4. Baseball is just recently on my watch list. Before you jump down my throat on this one, hear me out. I was born and raised a hockey fan. There is a serious speed difference between hockey and baseball, so going from super fast excitement to someone stepping off the plate every 10 seconds and 20 + extra innings is quite a challenge. Not to mention my dear aunt who can make a baseball reference out of anything. “Can you pass the sweet potatoes?” “Oh, sure. And did you know, Mark McGuire’s wife has a great recipe for sweet potatoes!” Gag. Growing up with that every Sunday definitely put my sports radar far away from home runs. However, for the past four years, I have followed the Cardinals as well as the league. I’m a sports fan by nature, so it’s only right that I learn them all. Not to mention, games at Busch Stadium are an experience unlike any other.

5. I know the words to nearly every song. OK – not every song. But if you put any country song (1990-present), 90s song or classic hit in front of me, I will be able to sing along. Unfortunately this includes wonderful hits such has Mambo #5, Baby Got Back and What’s Your Fantasy.

Next Week…Well, you’ll find out next week what the Top 5 is! 🙂

Getting Personal

3.5 years of college broken down into 20 photos.

OK – this isn’t going to be easy. I just created a photobook on Shutterfly of my college experience (thanks Groupon!) I narrowed it down to 80ish photos on 20 pages, which probably sounds insane to some of you, and probably sounds impossible to the rest of you. So, to test my skills, I’m going to further narrow down my years at Mizzou into 20 photos. BIG BREATH…here we go.

Bid Day. I’m on the right, third over in the front row of seats. Little did I know this day would change my life – I would meet my best friends and have the greatest college experience a girl could have thanks to my beautiful Alpha Phi sisters. Sigh, it seems like this was just yesterday.

AEPi Marriage Party. This was my first Greek event and the first time I realized college is basically one huge Halloween party. Theme? Tarzan and Jane.

Barbie and Ken Party:This is by far one of my favorite pictures of college. The party was actually super dumb, but we looked so cute!

Freshman Year: Ah, my roommates. From left to right, Lacey, Julie, myself and Jordan. And yes, we put a tree in our little dorm. Also got a rabbit, but that didn’t end too well [no worries, the rabbit is fine, we just couldn’t keep him.]

Homecoming 2007: This was my first taste of pomping, house decs, staying up all night creating glittery signs. Yep – this was when I fell in love with it all. And yes, I am wearing a Hollister track jacket. Don’t judge.

Living In House: Oh 202. The second smallest room in Alpha Phi, yet somehow Kaitlyn and I shoved all of our shit into that one tiny closet, magically got bunk beds down to regular beds and even managed to have a sleepover or two.

Rush It, Love It, Alpha Phi! Oh yes, our first experience with rush. How freaking young are we? After perfecting walk outs and screaming all night, we somehow survived.

Babies! Yes, after a hell of a recruitment, we ended up with the cutest babies ever. Amanda, Grimm, Kelly and my little, Sammie. Instant besties.

Parents Weekend: It’s not like I could have done this whole college thing without these two!

PCB ’09. The origin to Sorry I’m Not Sorry. Sorry we party.

Copper Beech: Ah, the beginning of an era. This place was everything junior and senior year.

21 and Invincible: Erin’s 21st started off the greatest time of our lives – legality.  Shots for everyone!

ΛΧΑ Watermelon Fest: Hundreds of sorority girls chucking watermelons at each other – is there a better philanthropy? No.

Halloween: Need I explain? I didn’t think so.

Junior/Senior Pub Crawl: Crawlin’ til we Fallin’

Bid Day at the Columns: A total 360 from the first photo.

Tailgating: Partying harder than you since 1872.

Alpha Phi – Omicron Centenial: 100 years of Sisterhood

Formal: My last one with my great-grandbabies Kelly and Tori and my little Sammie.

Graduation: I may have just teared up a bit. Thank you Mizzou, the Journalism school and Alpha Phi for giving me everything I could want out of a college experience and so much more.