Category Archives: Education

Tips for Success from a Recent College Graduate (without a job)

Yes, you read that right. I’m about to give you advice about how to succeed without having a job myself.

If I learned anything from my college experience, it was that the degree you earn isn’t your ticket to a career or job. I graduated at the end of April with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Simpson College. It is now almost two-months to the day since I walked across that stage, and I’m still jobless.Education-Diploma-and-Cap-image-1170x836

Although I’m definitely feeling the pressure to get a consistent income to pay the bills, I’m also excited about the upcoming months of my professional life.

Before graduation, I’d been in contact with a handful of successful alumnae from Simpson in both Marketing/Public Relations and the Sports industry. Since then, I’ve remained in contact with those mentors, but I’ve also made several more local connections that I hope will prove helpful in the beginning of my professional career.

The following five things are what I’ve learned in the last year, in no particular order. They are things that have helped me so far and I think all young professionals should keep in mind to succeed.

Don’t get discouraged by rejection

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I thought I was getting ahead during my last year of college by applying to a ton of places (around the country) earlier than most of my peers. All I got back from those applications were rejection emails and calls.

Since then, I’ve applied to twice as many positions and heard back from about 10 of them to send them writing samples or schedule an interview. The hardest part of the process is waiting to hear back from a company about your application, samples or interview.

Regardless of what you hear back from a company, don’t get discouraged. You are one out of (at least) a handful of just as qualified applicants. You may be the best applicant in your mind, but you can’t know who else applied and what experiences they’ve had. The company will do what’s in their best interest.

More often than not, that’s not you (or me).

Utilize your connections/networkImage result for connections and networking

Whether its through LinkedIn, professors, alumni organizations or other mentorship programs, your connections will define your success in the beginning of your professional career, especially in the sports industry.

I was lucky enough to be a part of a social fraternity (Lambda Chi Alpha) during college, which gave be hundreds of thousands of connections worldwide. Aside from that, I had former supervisors and professors that have served as references and written my letters of recommendation as I applied for jobs in the industry they work in.

I’m currently a stadium operations intern with the Iowa Cubs (AAA-Affiliate of the            Chicago Cubs). As one of the 22 interns selected from 100+ applicants, I didn’t have            to apply or interview. I was able to impress my boss enough when I worked there              last summer in the parking lot that he asked me to work in the stadium this season.          To me, this was a huge accomplishment. Although there are no full-time positions              open currently, I feel confident that my experience at the stadium will help me                  down the road with a career in sports.

Currently, I’m utilizing a connection I made (while working for the Iowa Cubs) to              develop myself professionally and continue my job search. By making a good first              impression on this mentor, I’ve been able to confide in him and he’s helping me by            using his connections in the community to put in a good word about me to potential          employers.

Step outside of your comfort zone

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Nothing overly good every happens to people who wait around to wait for change to come to them. Nothing in life will get any better by just waiting for it to happen. For you to become happy, find a job, meet a companion or just become a better person, you’ll have to step outside of your box.

For me, this realization occurred when I was interviewing for a job just last week. I was asked what my greatest weakness is. It’s something I’d thought about (knowing a lot of interviewers ask it), but didn’t think about it in this way until very recently. My answer was that I’m not really a people-person. It’s tough to be a good communicator for a company (as a PR person) without enjoying people and having conversations with strangers all the time.

My comfort zone was not talking to strangers, meeting new people (unless required) and having minimal conversation/small talk. To be successful, I’ve discovered that I’ll need to become more outgoing and extroverted in my professional life. Meeting new people leads to new connections which can led to new opportunities.

Follow your passions, but not always

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Nothing beats loving what you do. Nothing.

If you’re passionate about sports, apply to every sports job you can find.

If you’re passionate about politics, contact every campaign manager to see where you could help.

Without passion, work is less enjoyable. Without passion, you’re just working for a paycheck, not a purpose. When you love what you do, and you’re doing what you love, great things will happen.

The tip here is not to just follow your passion, but also to stay grounded.

Passion is one of the most important things in any profession. For now, when you’re looking for that foot in the door, your first real job, don’t be too picky.

If your passion is sports, but there are no jobs in a stadium or directly with a team, consider taking an entry level sales job to get your foot in the door with the management.

If you’re passionate about politics, but you have no experience in campaign management, consider taking a job in promotions or marketing for a candidate to get yourself into the industry.

Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to sacrifice your passion early in your career (without losing sight of your end goal) to make your way up the ladder in a company/industry you’re passionate about.

Always thank people for their timeImage result for thanking people professional

This should go without saying, but no matter who is helping you, taking time to interview you, or just give you advice, thank them. They’re doing it to help you, as a young professional. A lot of people didn’t get the help you’re asking for, so they’re more than willing to help when asked.

One thank you goes a long way. Whether its a quick; “thanks for meeting up for coffee and advice” email, or a handwritten thank you note following an interview (whether you get a job offer or not), a thank you will set you apart from the rest of the competition.

It might even make a hiring manager reconsider if they’re choosing another candidate.

Dylan Kalinay; Running success

All-American. National Championship qualifier. 4-time IIAC Champion. School record holder.

These are just a few of the many prestigious honors that will follow Storm senior Dylan Kalinays’ name in the record books.

Nearing the end of his career, Kalinay has his sights set on qualifying for the outdoor national championship meet, but he’ll have to prove himself on the track first.

Simpson College hosted Central College and Nebraska Wesleyan in a triangular track meet this Saturday (4/21). At the meet, I covered Kalinays’ events, his thoughts on his running career and how he’s feeling going into the final stretch of his time at Simpson.

Here’s my Twitter thread:

In the end, NWU won the meet, but Kalinay won all three of his events; 4x100m relay, 110m hurdles, 200m sprint.

Prior to the meet on Saturday, I met up with Kalinay to talk about how he was feeling nearing the end of his career at Simpson. He said he was trying to keep it out of his mind. He knows he still has a lot to accomplish on the track, so his mind is on running fast, not on how much he’ll miss his friends, the team and the Storm.

Here are the final results from the meet.

And now a little bit of personal reflection on my time at Simpson and Storm Athletics.

I’ve been writing for The Simpsonian, the school newspaper, for two years now. I have had the chance to do some things I never thought I’d do. I’ve interviewed All-American athletes, including Kalinay. I’ve interviewed the president of Simpson College (for a news story, of course). I’ve had conversations with coaches and athletes that invoked change on campus.

It’s a small world we live in. The last time I ran track was in high school at Vinton-Shellsburg. We were in the WaMac conference and ran against the same handful of teams at every meet. I didn’t know until this week that Dylan Kalinay, an All-American and mult-time National Championship qualifier, started just like me–in the WaMac conference at South Tama.

The people you meet being a journalist, writing stories that otherwise wouldn’t be told, are what makes everything worth the hassle.

Theatre Simpson: Politics & Protest

Every Spring, the senior class of theatre students puts together a production called the Festival of Short Plays. This year, the production focused on Politics and Protest, in light of recent activities under the Trump Administration and other governmental issues.

For #MobileSocial class, I was assigned to cover an event on campus, ideally related to my niche–the topic of this blog; sports. Unfortunately, there weren’t any sporting events on campus worth covering.

I decided to go out of my comfort zone and cover something I’ve never had the chance–or opportunity– to cover.

The show, consisting of four separate ‘acts,’ was produced, directed and designed entirely by the seniors in the Theatre Simpson program.

As was written in the program handout, “the plays address issues of contemporary relevance that stand to divide people based on some version of a political agenda, and that the students deemed each of the plays as having the potential to be “good theatre.”

In addition to the program handout, the students were also passing out informational brochures about the Simpson program prioritization. The prioritization has been the buzz around campus, specifically the arts departments, and Theatre Simpson is using its platform to continue educating the community.

Although I wasn’t able to record any of the plays, I got some photos and shared my opinions and information about them on my Twitter (@mlashpr). Here’s what I’ve done:

Directors Britteny Johnson and Brianna Stoever, both seniors, included a note for the audience in the program. The note stated that they didn’t intend to make the audience think a certain way about any one thing, but rather to think in a new way. They want to protest the way we all view, experience and think about theatre. Their hope is that the audience left with a more thoughtful and creative way of viewing the performances and the topics they embrace.

With a strong tie to the arts at Simpson, both seniors are well-informed in issues surrounding the program prioritization on campus.

Infographic Resume: An effort to be different

For #MobileSocial class, we’re tasked with creating an infographic resume with hopes of standing out from the competition as we enter the working force after graduation.

Here is what I’ve come up with to heighten myself above my peers as I apply for a full-time job.



I have yet to apply to any jobs with this resume, and it’s not intended to replace a written resume, but it shows off my skills and experiences while also showing off my creativity (no matter how little I have).

Employers often see 100’s of applications and resumes for a single opening. With most of those applicants playing it safe with an all written resume, they’ll all blend together and none of them will be memorable. By using an infographic resume, I’ll be noticed, leave a lasting impression on a hiring manager, and hopefully show that I have what it takes to be a leader in my field.

Iowa Cubs: A day in the life of a Stadium Operations intern

As Spring has official started, no matter how winter-like the Iowa weather seems still, April means baseball season is back.

This summer, I was lucky enough to land an internship with the Iowa Cubs, the AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs MLB team.Image result for iowa cubs

As a game-day/stadium operations intern I have a lot on my plate for the summer, and big shoes to fill.

I started work about 20-25 hours per week in the middle of March, and continued that until opening day on April 5. That’s when things got fun, exciting and became everything I’ve wanted to do since I decided to pursue a career in sports.

Due to the extremes of the weather in Iowa, the first home-stand schedule has been altered. With a double-bill on opening day, my first real ‘game-day’ experience was one to remember.

All my coworkers came in at 7 a.m. to start prepping the stadium. I was in class from 8-9:30, but came in quickly after to work the rest of the day. For me, that meant I worked 10:30 a.m. until after 10 p.m. when the games were over and the stadium was ready to close.

Everyone in the sports industry says to be prepared for long hours, showing up early and staying late, but I was shocked at how quickly that started. I love what I’m doing, but the hours are as extreme as the weather.Image result for simpson college graduation

Until I graduate from Simpson on the last Saturday of April (3 weeks), I’ll be working as many games as I can, but will have to stay up finishing assignments and keeping caught up. It’ll be a grind, but once I graduate and can dedicate all my time to pursuing a career in my passion, the long hours and stress will pay off.

On opening day, we did a lot of work to get the stadium ready for fans. Everyday, we use leaf blowers to blow the stadium (seats, concourse, suite boxes, outside grounds) and follow that by hosing. The blowing gets all the peanut shells, popcorn, trash and leaves out of the walkways, and the hoses get all the dirt and grime from the day/s before to make the stadium look as good as possible on game-day.

Once we’ve gotten the stadium cleaned and ready to open for the game, we’ll all split up and get ready for our in-game promotions and other jobs.

To keep the games fun and interesting, we run 8-12 promotions per game. Each promotion is at the top, middle or bottom of an inning, and includes a fan (kid or adult) coming on the field or answering a trivia question for a prize. Each promotion is different, but they’re all fun and a good way to break up the game for those fans who are wanting more than just ‘another ball game.’

Once the game is over, and the Cubs have either won or lost, all that’s left is to clean up and close the stadium. That’s not all fun and games, but it has to be done, and once we were taught what needed to be done and how to do it, it’ll be quick and easy the rest of the season.

If you’re interested in a career in sports, I STRONGLY consider interning with a minor league team to build up your skills and credibility. The connection I’ve made at the Iowa Cubs may or may not help me land another job in sports down the road in my career, but I’ve already learned so much about how stadiums operate in and off-season.

I’ve only just begun my career in sports, but I can say one thing is certain; this is what I want to do. Image result for skills + passion

My degree is in public relations, and I have strongly developed skills in writing and drafting content for those purposes, but because of my passion for sports, I’ll be continuing to pursuing a career in that. Ideally, my future job will connect both of my experiences, skills and passions (PR and sports) and I’ll be living the dream.

Until then,

Take that chance.
Say ‘yes’ more often than ‘no.’
Put in the work.
Rise and Grind.

And last, but not least, find your passion and do what you love.

#SCScavengerHunt: Athletics at Simpson College

This morning, I went around campus, showing off some of the athletic facilities, athletes, coaches and staff at Simpson College. It was an assignment for #MobileSocial, but it was also something I’ve wanted to document for content.

Although I’m not involved in any DIII athletics, I’m involved the athletic program as an undergraduate assistant for facilities, and I’m the sports editor for the school paper (The Simpsonian), so I’ve had a lot of interaction with athletes and coaches.

I “live-tweeted” my tour of this part of campus, and conversations I had with athletes and coaches/staff on my Twitter profile (@mlashpr). Here is how it played out.

Here are some highlights of the virtual tour of SC Athletics and it’s athletes:

Behind the Scenes: The Des Moines Register

A few weeks back, one of my classes at Simpson, #MobileSocial visited the Des Moines Register for a tour and information about some of their policies and how the newsroom works. Here’s what I took away.


From our visit at the Des Moines Register, I learned a lot of new things relating to the way the newsroom works and how the Register gets their news out to the readers. I found it insightful the way they did the morning “briefing” and wrote out the schedule for each paper on the wall. This makes every story important and publicly known when each deadline is and who is writing the story.

The Register makes most of their money off of ad revenue, like most newspapers. They do make a small portion from subscriptions (both paper and digital), but it’s a vast minority of their revenue. On the tour, seeing the different areas that each “department” or section operates was interesting. It seemed like the news writers were separated from the ads/marketing and management team, but the administration, like the president, were near the newsroom. I just thought it was odd that there was so much empty space in each area, but they all still spread out throughout the office.

As Brian Smith said, the Register doesn’t have a social media mandate for its reporters or editors, but they strongly encourage its use. Obviously, social media is where most people see and get their news from, so having an active profile that shares accurate content is a good thing for reporters and editors to have.

In their social media policy, the Register outlines five areas in which they strive to achieve. All of them are in line with the SPJ Code of Ethics (seek/report the truth, integrity, independence, serving the public interest etc…), and all of them are appropriate for any news organization to follow.


Because of my passion for sports, that is what I chose as me beat/niche for this class. Although, I’ve been following a good deal of sports reporters on twitter for a while, including the Regsiters’ Aaron Young, I started following a few others that write for the Register and the CR Gazette because of our visit.

I have had any direct interaction with Young or Chad Leistikow or Mark Emmert, but I’ve been following them and noticed one major thing about all three—consistency. Each of the three are consistently tweeting (in depth coverage of Iowa sports or sports in general), active on professional Facebook profiles or pages and covers more than just sports.

Aaron Young, though he is a sports reporter for the Register, covers many other things. Without the ability to cover news, politics, sports and entertainment etc… journalists are at the mercy of their knowledge. To have a strong following of Twitter, journalists can be an “expert” at one thing, but must be able to do many types of writing.

For sports, the best platform is definitely twitter. With ESPN, SportsCenter and many more profiles getting thousands of RT’s and interactions about breaking news or trade rumors etc., the quickness of Twitter is the best option for sports information.

On the front page of the Register on 1/31 was a story about Trump and his SOTU antics. By the time I looked online, that story was near the bottom of the first page and was difficult to find. Online, the Register is making the most “breaking” and popular news stories visible, because they will get the most traction and engagement from their subscribers.