Category Archives: Trends

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.

Selection Sunday: 8 Winners & Losers

Every year, 32 teams get auto bids to play in the NCAA basketball tournament for winning their conference title. There are 36 other at-large teams that get selected by a committee to play ball in the best month of basketball of the year.

Like every sport, there are teams that feel like they won or lost out, based on their selection for the tournament. Here are a few of my winners and losers from Selection Sunday and going into the first four games this week.

Losers: Oklahoma State, Arizona, Louisville, Virginia, USC

Oklahoma State: Finishing 19-14 (6th in the Big 12), OSU looked to squeak into the big dance. After downing conference rival Oklahoma (who made it in as a 10-seed) twice and Kansas (1-seed in the MW region), OSU finished the season 6-6 against ranked opponents. Breaking even shouldn’t be rewarded with a bid, but the teams they beat, and when they beat them, should’ve earned the Cowboys a bid to dance. Instead, they’ll be playing in the NIT against FGCU wishing and wondering what could’ve been.

Arizona: In the midst of the bribery investigation, Arizona took a slight hit from the selection committee. They were too good to keep out of the tournament, but because they are under investigation, the committee wasn’t going to be nice to the team.  Sitting as a 4-seed in the South region the Wildcats of Arizona will take on the 13-seeded Buffalo team. Finishing the season 27-7, and 8-1 in the last 9, the Wildcats will hope to leave the doubters behind and focus on winning when it counts.

Louisville: As another team involved in a NCAA rule violation/scandal, Louisville is feeling its impact. After finishing the season 20-13, the Cardinals looked to be set for a bid to dance. After news broke about the scandal involving prostitution and recruitment violations, Louisville was stripped of over 100 wins from the 2011-2014 seasons and multiple tournament wins, including the 2013 National Championship. Now, Louisville will be playing as a 2-seed in the NIT against Northern Kentucky, rather than dancing once more.  Although these scandals are heinous, being stripped of a National Championship and 100+ wins is damaging enough to a program. Louisville was a good enough team to make the cut and play for a championship, but the committee thought otherwise.

Virginia: Yes, the Cavaliers are a 1-seed in the big dance. I still think they are a loser following Selection Sunday. The road to the Sweet Sixteen seems easy enough, but that game will not be easy for the Cavaliers. Inevitably, they’ll face Kentucky or Arizona, both powerhouse teams with more NBA talent than Virginia. The Cavaliers finished the season 31-2 including eight-straight to end the regular season and win the ACC tournament title.

USC: After finishing 2nd in the PAC-12, behind the 1-seed Arizona, USC is stuck in the NIT. With a record of 23-11, including a couple tough losses to Arizona (regular season and PAC-12 Championship game), USC earned themselves a 1-seed…in the NIT. Last season, USC earned themselves the 11-seed in the NCAA Tournament, beating Providence in the First Four game and moving on to beat 6-seed SMU before falling to 3-seed Baylor in the 2nd round. Now, after having the same regular season success, USC is faced with the harsh reality of the NIT.

Winners:  Oklahoma, Arizona State, Villanova

Oklahoma: After losing to Oklahoma State (twice), the Sooners, led by star Trae Young, managed to earn themselves a 10-seed in the big dance. With a record of just 18-13, the Sooners were treated VERY well by the selection committee on Sunday. With a handful of decent wins, Oklahoma also had their share of bad losses. After starting the season 14-2, the Sooners ended the season 4-11. In the past, the selection committee took into consideration how the team played down the stretch, but apparently not for Oklahoma. Trae Young will have a shot at a deep run in the tournament and will prove himself as a good all-around player.

Arizona State: Finishing 20-11 this season, ASU will play in one of the first four games against Syracuse. Falling in 5 of their last 6 games, ASU was a big winner of Selection Sunday. Sitting at 8th in the PAC-12 conference, ASU had every chance to miss the dance. Instead, the committee gave them a chance, as an 11-seed, to prove their case in the tournament. Luckily for ASU, the selection committee took the entire season into account. ASU started the season 12-0, but finished 8-11, hurting their bid “stock.”

Villanova: Sitting at 30-4, and earning a 1-seed in the East region, Villanova has the easiest region to face. Ranked as the 2nd overall seed in the tournament, the Wildcats only real competition will come from Purdue, Wichita State and West Virginia. In the other regions, the top-seeded teams will face more challenging opponents. Kansas could face Michigan State or Duke, Virginia could face Arizona or Kentucky, and Xavier could face UNC or Michigan. An easier schedule could prove beneficial for the Wildcats of Villanova down the road in the big dance.

For the NCAA Tournament Bracket, click HERE

For the NIT Bracket, click HERE

To make your own bracket and compete in March Madness, click HERE

Follow me on Twitter (@mlashpr) to stay up to date on the latest games, Cinderella stories and upsets!

#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:

Jocks on Politics: How Athletes Inspire Outside of the Game.

LeBron James. JJ Watt. David Ortiz.

All three of these superstar athletes have many things in common. Sure, they are all incredibly gifted, household names and well-paid for these attributes.

They are also some of the most influential people for the youngest generation of kids across the world.

More and more kids are aspiring to be the next LeBron James or JJ Watt.

To quote a childhood favorite of mine,

“With great power comes great responsibility.”
-Uncle Ben, Spiderman

Often times, professional athletes are idolized like superheroes.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are enough of a sports fan to have thought, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a professional athlete.’

I did.

Once kids figure out how much work goes into it, most give up the dream and pursue something more realistic. They continue to stay informed in the sports industry, watching their favorite teams or athletes, but deep down still wish they had their chance.

Nowadays, athletes are standing up, or kneeling, for what they believe in.

Colin Kaepernick did it last year and it nearly ruined his career. Now, LeBron and Kevin Durant are under heat from some media outlets following some comments about President Trump.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m a liberal, a democrat, and I’ve never had any interest in Fox News. That being said, what makes a news source, or a professional athlete able to say anything they want (within a certain reason) without punishment?

The First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Sure, they are both rich, well-off professional athletes. But they are also both black men who grew up underprivileged.

When Fox News aired this segment, LeBron and KD got more heat, LeBron responded.

More on this can be found by clicking HERE.

KD and LeBron are both leaders in the NBA, no question about it. But they’ve also solidified their position as role-models, inspiration and activists against social injustice.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke out about the issue, and commended the stars on their professional response.

Fox News has, unsurprisingly, attempted to defend their comments by saying they had nothing to do with race. But like too much in the US, racial tension is present in every aspect of our lives.

Surrounding this whole issue was the NBA All-Star weekend, held in LA where all the best basketball players from around the world come together for a weekend of fun, basketball and the common good.

Each All-Star team captain (LeBron James and Stephen Curry) chose a charitable organization to donate a hefty amount to, based on the outcome of the game.

Unlike the NFL Pro Bowl, where players get more money in their pockets, the All-Star game game a combined $500,000 to two selected charities. Giving back to the youth and the community is important to the league, and most players go above and beyond to make an impact.

Players Associated With the Most Charites

That’s something JJ Watt and David Ortiz have already gotten behind.

JJ Watt organized the donation of more than $37 million to disaster relief following Hurricane Harvey, earning himself the Walter Payton Man of the Year in the NFL.

During his MLB career, David Ortiz was associated with six different charitable organizations, because he wanted to give back to the community that made him who he is.

Here are more NBA Players Giving Back

If the comments/response following the Fox News segment about professional athletes has taught me anything, it’s that the sports community will stand together against injustice.