Alli Swift - 2013 Academic Excellence Awardee

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Alli Swift - 2013 Academic Excellence Awardee

Congratulations to Alli Swift who has been awarded The Academic Excellence Award in Communication Studies for 2013. Alli is now working as an Account Manager for a San Francisco Bay Area event planning company. Here are some of Alli’s post-USD reflections:

I spent most of my college career being scoffed at for picking Communication Studies as my major. I was constantly hounded with questions like, “What are you going to do with that?” “Isn’t that the easiest major?” “Do you even have to study?” Luckily I loved my major way too much to let any of that get to me. I know I could have easily picked a more stream-lined major that would place me in a guaranteed job post-college, but I couldn’t imagine studying anything else. And in my short time being graduated from USD- I honestly cannot think of a major more applicable to the real world.

Leading up to my graduation last December I was frantic about landing a job and figuring out what I would do after I left the beach. I found that, as many people say, it’s all about who you know. I networked my way to my current position as an account manager for an Event Planning Company in the bay area. After being at my job for 3 months now it has become so clear to me what classes in college actually prepared me for surviving in the real world (spoiler alert: it wasn’t Logic.)

What I have found in the “adult world” is that approximately 75% of people you encounter have no clue how to communicate effectively or appropriately. And honestly, when you are dealing with people, it is not how much you know, but how well you communicate and interact with them. Knowing facts and figures will only get you so far, but being able to call someone on the phone, have a productive conversation and build those personal relationships will get you so much further.

My fellow colleagues have been most impressed with my ability to win over clients. They are constantly telling me what a great addition I am to the team because our clients love working with me- and it is not because I am the smartest person, but it is because I am constantly communicating with them, trying to understand their needs and basically employing all the skills I ever learned in my communication classes. I understand that men will communicate differently than women, and that you have to work through the layers of the onion to reach a deeper connection (for the record I don’t think I will ever be able to rid myself of that onion metaphor.)

I miss college every day, but I also love the new challenges that I am facing. USD taught me that hard work will pay off and get you to the places you want to go. Being a communications major opened my mind to so many new concepts and avenues. Most graduates are not able to say that they employ what they learned in their major every day- but I am. I don’t think I would be here today- graduated with a job I love, if it wasn’t for the many talented professors that pushed me to understand the importance of communicating.

And as a final fun fact- one month after starting my job here I gave a presentation to a potential client. My boss was so impressed by my presentation and public speaking skills that he gave me a raise right on the spot. So pay attention in public speaking class- it literally pays off.


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