You Will Land on Your Feet: Video Transcript

Samantha Burgoon (BA Strategic Communication, Miami, 2014) [plans to work in public relations in the nonprofit sector, particularly in third world development]: I knew that I was smart, I had a good education, I had a degree from Miami University, and no matter when I go looking for a job, I'll be able to land on my feet. And I also knew if I get tied down, or invested in a career, when else am I going to get an opportunity to spend an entire year in a third-world country doing something meaningful to me? So it really felt like it was the perfect time to do it, to take that time off and kind of just explore, but also doing some really good work.

Some of my favorite memories from Malawi are definitely based in the classroom. Just the dynamic I created with my classroom was something that has really helped me with the confidence of my abilities to communicate effectively. I had a group of 70 students, and to me that's a pretty big audience on its own. Classrooms here can range from 12 to 25, and so I had a lot of foreign students that I had to really connect with so they got the best learning experience possible. So I think my fondest memory, it was over the course of the school year, being able to establish a good relationship with them, where we mutually understood each other, even though we were from completely different cultures.

My strategic communication education at Miami really prepared me, even for an out-of-the-box experience in Malawi through teaching. It gave me self-confidence in the first place, and teaching a class of 70 students is basically public speaking as well. I needed to know how to analyze my audience, analyze my classroom in order to get the most effective message across, and making sure they were taught what they needed to be taught, but they were also understanding and retaining that information.

My advice for current students, especially those about to graduate, is not to stress about finding a job, because whether you have one locked in before graduation, whether you get one right away outside of graduation, whether it takes you a couple months, that's okay. Or if you want to do something nontraditional like I did, take time to explore, do some volunteer work, that's okay too because a degree from Miami holds so much value and credibility in the working world that you will land on your feet, and you'll get to do something you really love.

My experiences at Miami have taught me that your education here won't put you on a cookie-cutter path to your career. It'll take you so many other places, and your education gives you that flexibility to bring all of your strengths to the table in whatever you want to do.

[October 2015]