My daily schedule has finally cleared enough to focus on the blog and finish the round of staff introductions that I started in September.  Today, I’m giving Liz a little more space than I provided to my other admissions pals.  And she earns it — Liz is the first person most visitors to the office will meet.  And whereas most of us started in “international” and ended up in higher education administration, Liz took a different pathway to both.  Here’s her story:

I graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Business Administration.  Degree in hand, my first “real world” job was with USA TODAY, and before you ask:  No, I wasn’t a journalist.  (It’s funny how that’s the first thing people think of when you tell them you worked for a newspaper.)  I worked in Circulation, the behind-the-scenes operation required to make a newspaper work.  Our office handled the printing, sales, distribution, and customer service for the New England area.

I started out as an Administrative Coordinator in USA TODAY‘s Marketing department (marketing, in the newspaper industry, being a fancy word for sales), handling any and all paperwork, purchasing, data processing, and general support for three managers.  I find enjoyment in routine, and in the structured chaos that exists in an admin position (including what others may consider mundane, such as paperwork and data processing).  After a year or so, I moved to the Customer Service side of the office, which allowed me to experience the unpredictability of working directly with customers — it made for an exciting and sometimes frustrating day, but it kept me on my toes and taught me how to juggle competing work demands.  In addition to my 9-to-5 job, I remained highly active in my National Sorority which you’ve previously read about.  Needless to say, I rarely had a dull moment with either position.

Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it), after three years at USA TODAY, I was forced to think about my future career, when I was one of many customer service reps who were laid off.  And so, after I had finished crying over being laid off for the first time ever, I started to think about what I liked to do.  I realized that a return to higher education administration was the way for me to go.  I loved my time in college:  I loved working with students when I was a student worker in a university office and when I was a Resident Assistant; and I loved the sense of community that higher ed brought, and that didn’t exist for me at the newspaper.

This brings me to where I am now at The Fletcher School.  Working in the Admissions Office as the Staff Assistant has allowed me to get my foot back in the door of higher education.  I’m in a position where I utilize my admin and customer service skills from USA TODAY, as well as the event planning experience I gained from my sorority.  I don’t know if Admissions is my final stopping place in higher education, as it’s a brand new area for me, but I am enjoying what I do here every day.  I still have the structured chaos that comes with being in an admin role, and I truly enjoy the spontaneity and unpredictable nature of working with prospective applicants and current students.


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