Catchin' Up with...Sophia Smecker
Time spent at college can mean a lot of different things to different people. For example: Learning how to do your own laundry, discovering the true meaning of an "all-nighter," figuring out how to live with people other than your parents, and realizing that teachers did in fact expect you to write 10+ page papers AND turn them in on time. College was of course all these things for me (plus discovering of the Holy Grail that is the Commons), but looking back, my time at Salisbury University isn’t really defined by just these things. To me, it was the time that shaped me into a young professional.
My favorite time in college was when I began to dive into my marketing classes. I had great professors that not only taught the essential principles of marketing, but also empowered their students to learn hands-on. We generated advertising campaigns for local non-profits, built our own websites, learned how to create our own personal "brand" and interacted with professionals in the business community. I started to realize the importance of a good resume, not just a good transcript, and I was able to start showing experience from my classes.
The great things about the Perdue School of Business are that there are always opportunities around every corner to get more involved and professors to encourage you. I learned through my classes the importance of networking and making connections and started to realize that these opportunities were everywhere.
During my senior year at SU, I was the president of the American Marketing Association. I was tasked with bringing in guest speakers to our monthly meetings. Little did I know that this would be the first step to growing my network about which my professors always talked. I didn’t realize until then, the power that connections could have in a professional realm.
Besides the knowledge I gained from my classes and things I learned as president of the AMA, I was able to participate in marketing competitions that I could put on my resume. The Target Case Competition allowed me to hone my presentation skills and think outside the box. The MAXI Competition was the biggest challenge in my college career, and through strategizing and research, I learned firsthand how to create a real (and pretty good) marketing plan. My professors pushed me, and after all the hard work, our group placed third in the national competition – a feat I would not have taken on without the encouragement of my professors. Today, the projects I was involved in are still the highlight of my college career and there were so many more opportunities the Perdue School had to offer that I wish I could have taken advantage of.
When graduation time rolled around, I was fully confident in my resume and prepared from coaching from my professors. I landed a job at my then internship at the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce and have now been there for almost four years as the director of media and public relations. I have the fortune of still living in Salisbury and am lucky to have a job that works with the University on a regular basis. I am happy to have the opportunity to give back to the school that did so much for me by being involved as a mentor through the Career Advisory Board and I also supervise interns that come from SU. I am surprised every semester with the incredible talent that comes out of the school.
When I sit down over the semester with my interns and talk about SU or when I nostalgically look back on my college career, I definitely think about how I learned that studying really shouldn’t be a suggestion and that you can definitely eat pizza for seven days in a row, but I also think about how my professors encouraged me to take advantage of the opportunities available and how they helped shape me into a young professional. I like to think about how much I enjoyed my time at SU.