Name: Paige Pope
Hometown: La Porte, IN
Year you graduated: December 2016
Where did you go to school? Purdue University
What did you study? Public Relations & Strategic Communications with Minors in French & English
What are you doing with your post grad time?
In short, exploring and figuring it all out. When I graduated I started as a content & community specialist with a social media and digital agency. I worked remotely and traveled between NYC and L.A. for the role working on clients’ social strategies and channels. I never realized all of the different niches a public relations degree could spin into such as running social for fashion, beauty, celebrity and lifestyle brands versus media relations.
It was a smaller agency meaning I was constantly learning and trying on new hats. It was fast-paced and I felt like I crammed five years of learning/experience into one year, which I am grateful for.
I also spent four months out of the past year traveling, volunteering and backpacking in Southeast Asia and Oceania. I freelanced for my company during most of my travels, which was a very unique experience. Sometimes it was difficult when people went off bungee jumping or exploring, and I sat in a coffee shop with my boyfriend all day working, but then I realized I was working in a coffee shop in a different country with a view of a gorgeous lake and I’d be off somewhere new tomorrow and that was pretty special. Plus, I was able to stay connected with my company and transition back into a role when I returned.
I never thought traveling or working like that was possible, but if you want something enough you can make it happen.
What did your post-grad path to your current job look like? Did you start right away? Take some time off?
What has been the hardest adjustment for you going from college to post-grad life?
There is no script or clear outline on how things are supposed to go. From the time you start preschool to the time you graduate college, every step of the way is outlined with a few pre-chosen forks and choices along the way. You can anticipate what each year will bring. Then you graduate and stare at an endless expanse of life that leads to your retirement or death, and the confined path just stops. That’s an overwhelming moment of choice and personal responsibility.
Plus, I miss having nearly all of my best friends either in my apartment or in walking distance.
What has been the best part?
See previous answer…as scary as the freedom to choose is, it is also one of the most freeing and liberating concepts. I finally realized I am the architect of my own life and can design it however I see fit. There are no precast molds to choose from anymore and I love that each year of my life could look so different and veer any way. All of it sits right in your hands and that is some lovely responsibility and freedom all at once.
What helped you land your current position?
The founder & CEO of the company came and spoke at my school. I connected with her via LinkedIn and email and asked if I could ever help with any work as I had an interest in writing. For about six months, I contributed articles to the company. When a position opened up at the company, I didn’t have to go through the exhausting interview process because I had already proven my work ethic. Volunteering work and time to companies pays off!
Knowing what you do now, what advice would you give your college self?
Life after college isn’t a one-size-fits all experience, so don’t shy away from considering alternative paths. Also do anything and everything you ever felt like exploring because it really could be the last time you have so much opportunity and variety of experience located in such a small place. I always was curious about participating in our campus Human Versus Zombie game or joining the Quidditch Team but I didn’t because A. I thought I lacked experience (although I don’t know how one really acquires experience for those activities). B. Felt out of place C. Thought I was too “busy.”
Now I would love to go back and give it a go, but I can’t be the creepy graduate who shows up on campus with a broomstick and nerf gun. So do it all while you are there.
What’s one thing you worried about in college, now being beyond it, you wish you hadn’t?
Finding the perfect job and doing everything perfect to lead there. Just work hard on things that you love and you’ll eventually find the right fit.
I don’t have a specific title or job I aspire to, but I hope to be living and working somewhere that makes me happy. I hope to have seen more of the world. I hope to have grown and learned in a personal and professional capacity and use that experience to impact the world creatively whether it be through writing, communications or activism. I hope to feel confident in my career and confident about my next step, but not too many steps ahead because I hope to keep some room for spontaneity and curiosity.
I heard a quote on a podcast recently about going to the places “Where the dragons live.” That phrase was used on old pirate maps to denote the far off places where people didn’t often venture to. With the world becoming so flat and interconnected and homogenous in many ways today, I hope to venture off and explore more of these uniquely remote and individual places, and somehow bring that perspective into my work.
Rapid fire round:
Current binge show: The Crown Season 2 — I am trying to savour each episode to make the brilliance last.
Favorite way to unwind: Yoga or reading — the simple things.
Favorite song right now: “Homemade Dynamite- REMIX” by the Kiwi goddess Lorde and “Ohio-filous Remix” by Damien Jurado.
Cause/issue that’s moving you: Today, the loss of Net Neutrality, and tomorrow it will probably be something else. There is so much going on right now that I find myself moved by a new issue at least once a week. But to actually impact an issue, I recognize the need to zero in. My whole life I have been passionate about environmental issues and sustainability–that’s been my mainstay.
Favorite podcast: Pardon my French with Garance Doré
Something good you read for pleasure lately (can be a book, an article, an Instagram caption, etc.): THIS thought-provoking piece on the beloved HGTV. I also just read Rebecca Solnit’s “Men Explain Things To Me” and felt quite fiery after.
Morning drink order: Vanilla Latte with soy milk or Earl Grey tea
Current favorite social media account you follow: @rainnwilson @captainandthegypsykid @greenmatters @ …there is a lot of great stuff out there
3 things you can’t leave home without: Water, wallet and more water