Building your career while helping theirs

A lot of people aren’t fans of going to work, especially with 15 credit hours to do while simultaneously maintaining a social and professional life. I got lucky with a job that lets me do all three.

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Waiting area

My favorite place in Athens is Schoonover 200, the Scripps School of Journalism office. When I first got the assistant job through work study, I knew no one and nothing. This was back in the day when the journalism school was still in the Scripps building. Today I know everyone and everything, no seriously, EVERYTHING. Are you thinking of changing your major? I have the answer to that. Want to speak to an advisor who has experience in both fashion and feature writing? I know exactly who you can talk to. I’ve had the pleasure of assisting with the transition of the journalism school from the EW Scripps building, where we spent nearly 30 years, to the brand new Schoonover center (here’s to 30 more).

I thought that my only job here was to answer the phone when people called and point them to the right office when they come in, but it has become much more than that. My job is to make sure people are comfortable and happy, to make sure the visiting students love the school as much as I do and in some ways to literally be the face of the school. By being the first person people see when they walk in I am establishing a brand and representing a legacy of every journalist that has ever graduated with a degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. I’ve met some amazing professionals and seen the  behind-the-scenes to many classes…

“Why yes Dr. Stewart, I would love to make you 150 copies of your seven page 1010 midterm and also proctor the exam.”

I’ve also gotten to know many of the professors, some on a personal level, and it has made me appreciative of what they do and where they’ve come from. Being so involved here at work pushed me to be involved in other ways for the journalism school. Currently I do Public Relations through ImPRessions for the JSchool as well as being a Journalism Ambassador. Where I sit in prospective meetings with Dr. Stewart and talk to students and parents about what it’s really like to take 60 credit hours of general education requirements.

This was staged
This was staged

Debbie DePeel and Sharon Nickles, my bosses, have become mentors to me. Their retirement came as a shock especially since they’ve been here since before I was born. Like some series of tv shows, I just figured they’d never leave.  They have guided me through all my hardships and have been a shoulder for me to cry on more times than I can count.

What started off as my least favorite place to be has become the only place I want to be. It’s taught me patience, communication skills, and that there really is no such thing as a dumb question (I’ve heard it all and then some). Sure you can find me at one of 23 bars on campus on a Friday night (lets be honest), but nothing beats hearing that phone ringing and knowing that someone on the other side of that call needs my help.

“Scripps School of Journalism, this is Michelle speaking what can I do for you today?”