The Essay That Started It All

Why Cornell?  This essay answered the Cornell University college application prompt of the same question. It was originally written in October 2011 and answers why I always wanted to study Communications and attend Cornell University.

I was never the child who squeezed her mother’s leg on the first day of Kindergarten. Later in life, I never teetered on the edge of an unknown crowd hiding behind the hood of my jacket. Conversely, I have always formed relationships naturally, and started researching social careers since the budding years of adolescence. I painted a picture of my future in reverse; after ceaseless self-assessment tests proved that Communications would be the perfect fit for me, I then began the quest for a college that would best suit my designated career path.

My pre-pubescent fascination with communal interactions inevitably developed into several leadership roles during high school, enhancing my understanding of the field. Close contact with my guidance counselor, principal, yearbook and class advisors extended my school involvement beyond a peer-to-peer level. In junior year, my course selection allowed room for Public Relations, which undoubtedly became my favorite class. This crevice of communications broadened my understanding of how to write press releases, create focus groups and research Public Service Announcements.

“…a large university with an even larger spirit.”

One press release was particularly challenging; I was instructed to defend Tiger Woods amidst weeks of public slander in the tabloids. Rather than focusing on the mistakes he’d made, I highlighted his golfing career, philanthropic work and humble acceptance of sole responsibility for his actions.  Through assignments like this, I discovered that PR was not only enjoyable, but also something I had a knack for. To me, the field of Communications doesn’t just seek a “people person,” it requires one. Only the most effective communicators flourish in this industry, and what better place than Cornell to cultivate an undergraduate’s talents?

The little white envelope that graced my doorstep last October catalyzed my Cornelian addiction; “Randy Rosenberg (’74) and The Cornell Club of Long Island cordially invite you to spend two days on campus as a prospective undergraduate.” Me? Invited to Cornell? I was awestruck, but didn’t let the prestige intimidate me. I was ready.

“The field of Communications doesn’t just seek a ‘people person,’ it requires one.”

Emerging from my host’s dormitory into a hallway of laughing students, I expected to stand idly unnoticed as merely another “Pre-Frosh.” However, reality was quite the contrary; I didn’t blend in, I fit in. Floor Three of Dixon surpassed a freshman residence hall; it was a family that included me with open arms, even inviting me to “Family Dinner” at R.P.C.C. The Red Carpet Society is not a misnomer; while I was graced with royal treatment, I mostly enjoyed the passion students evoked in a wholehearted presentation of the Cornelian experience.

An ember of excitement warmed my conscience; years of hearing Uncle Antonio rave about his alma mater (BS IRL ’83) finally made sense. Cornell opens the gates to a much brighter future. Here, I will transform from student ambassador to CALS ambassador and a hopeful incoming freshman to a full-fledged member of the Association for Women in Communications. CALS offers an intimately specialized education surrounded by a large university with an even larger spirit.

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The Importance of Reconnecting

I’ve always been a firm believer of sending out those “Hey, remember me?” messages..no matter how awkward it may seem at first. And of course, you’ll have to be a little more creative than that if you’re trying to get any sort of message across.

Earlier today as I was scrolling through Twitter pages for PR Firms/Agencies to follow (and potentially places to apply for internships next summer..always thinking ahead!)…I came across a greek name that sounded so familiar. A name, much like my last name, that’s both hard to remember and hard to forget. And above all, hard to spell.

So I clicked on this Greek girl’s account and assumed that with over 5,000 followers, it belonged to just another PR Firm I’d heard of way back when. Maybe someone from my high school years above me had an internship there or something. And maybe the Twitter page went by the name of the CEO, rather than X Agency, Y Communications LLC, or Z Public Relations.

Well, the first thing I did was read her bio…still no light bulb had gone off. Once I reached the end of her terse information section I clicked the link to her webpage (MSM Public Relations) and read her “About” section. Within the first 15 seconds I had my aha moment…I shadowed this girl, Margo, when I was just a freshman in high school.

At the time, Margo wasn’t much older than I am. This was probably her first job after college. I was lucky enough to be close family friends with one of her bosses, Jacqueline Precious. She worked as the Merchandise Director at SoHo Fashion. Margo was SoHo Fashion’s publicist..which meant that she was in charge of maintaining positive PR. I remember her calling several magazines to feature SoHo’s products, in addition to contacting celebrities’ personal stylists (Vividly remember her speaking to Rihanna’s) asking them to “do lunch” so they can discuss Celeb X wearing SoHo outerwear Y in Z magazine.

Watching Margo work gave me my first exposure to PR, and I knew right then and there that I’d like to do something similar some day. Now she founded her own Public Relations Firm and is a producer for the Wendy Williams Show. Branching out to telecomm shows how versatile the industry is.

So about half an hour ago I decided to send Margo an email. While the natural progression of this post would probably lead me to saying something like “Reconnecting is so great..now she offered me an internship!” the truth is she hasn’t responded yet. I’m too impatient to wait for that…

But even so, I’ve rekindled a useful connection. I can ask her if they’re hiring for next summer later on this year or do an externship over Winter Break. She can get me in contact with other important people in the industry. It’s basically all about building connections. Reconnecting = another form of Networking.

On another note, I also reconnected with another old friend today–in the spirit of stumbling upon Margo’s new company.  At my younger sister’s graduation I ran into the elderly woman who lived next-door to my childhood home. Her granddaughter was in my sister’s class. Seeing her reminded me of another granddaughter of hers, who’s my age. When Kacie used to visit her grandma, she really came over to my house to play, up until about 3rd grade. So I found this girl on Facebook, crafted a message that would remind her of who I am in as minimally creepy of a way possible, and realized she’s a sister of the same sorority as I am, TriDelta. Funny coincidence!

Moral of the story: never be afraid to reach out to someone from the past, no matter how long ago it may feel. The worst thing that can happen is that they don’t remember you (but who would actually admit that?). At least you tried!

xox