The Road I Traveled Series

The Road I Traveled: Meet Emily

“Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

This series highlights young professionals and their stories, because no matter our path we all have a little to share and a lot to learn. Read and learn from past feature posts HERE.

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My next guest on the series is the very first person I met when I arrived in Manhattan to start my freshman year at K-State (well, other than my student visit as a high school senior.) I vividly remember walking in the front door at the Smurthwaite Scholarship/Leadership House for Women with my Dad and being greeted by Emily’s friendly smile. I also remember after my Dad said hello, he added “what the hell is that sound out there?” …It was August in Kansas, so the cicadas were in full force, but we don’t have those in the Pacific Northwest and didn’t know what they were. I was completely embarrassed but Emily was pretty amused, so I guess I didn’t ruin her first impression of me 🙂

I share that partially because it helps to paint a picture of how warm, friendly and lighthearted Emily is. She really looked out for me especially during my first semester as I navigated being an out of state student, for which I will forever be so grateful for. Even though she ended up transferring schools after my freshman year (which was a really brave decision!), she certainly left an impression on me in many ways. Emily is compassionate, fun, creative and shares my love for a good story. She has a lot of lessons and experiences I think many can relate to and appreciate, so I hope you enjoy hearing her story!

-Amanda 

Name: Emily Snell
Age: 28
Hometown: Ellinwood, KS
College: Lipscomb University and Kansas State University
Degree(s): Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Graduate Certificate in Conflict Management
Current Location: Nashville, TN
Current Job: Team Assistant at The Upper Room

College

What were you involved with outside of class? Organizations? Internships?
K-State: Smurthwaite Scholarship/Leadership House – regular house activities plus serving as Outreach Recruitment Chair, copy editing and writing for The Collegian, campus ministry, volunteering in my church’s nursery
Lipscomb: internship at United Methodist Communications, lots of part time jobs – student worker in the university business office, nanny, freelance writer for United Methodist Communications, managing editor & then editor-in-chief for the university’s student news website Lumination Network

What were your biggest challenges or obstacles in college? Anything you would change?
After sophomore year, I decided to move to Nashville and transfer schools. I loved K-State, but I felt a calling from God to go to Nashville. So, despite the fact that it was very out of character for me, I went. Transferring to a new school and moving to a new city where I knew only one person was a big adjustment. I had to pay my own rent, so it was difficult at times to manage multiple part-time jobs while also going to class and doing homework. And living off campus and having so many responsibilities didn’t leave me with a lot of opportunities to meet other students or find new friends. I wasn’t involved on campus much except for my participation in journalism activities. I had great friends within the department, but otherwise, I felt a little disconnected from the rest of the student body. On a small campus, that feels strange. But I was grateful for my small circle of good friends, and I’m still connected with those people today.

Another challenge came at the very end of college. I loved my time at Lipscomb, and I’m so grateful for the way it has shaped my life. But I did have to grieve some when the reality hit me that I would never be a K-State alum. I grew up in a family that, as we like to say, “bleeds purple.” When I came back to Manhattan in May 2012 to watch some friends graduate, I felt genuine sorrow that I was not on the stage with them. As much as I loved Lipscomb, it didn’t quite feel right to know that K-State isn’t my alma mater. I’m proud of Lipscomb and the good work they do in the Nashville community, and I’m thankful for the people I met there who have helped shape me. My diploma may not come from the university I dreamed about, but it’s from a place that I love and appreciate. Sometimes the real picture of life doesn’t turn out the way we imagined, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful!

 

What one piece of advice would you give a student during their senior year?
Be flexible with your future job expectations and be creative about finding ways to do what you love. Your “dream job” may not appear immediately, so identify what you’re passionate about and what brings you joy and then create a way to implement that in your life, even if it’s not an income-producing opportunity right away. And as you carve out a path for your career, try to be patient with the journey. In my experience, figuring out a meaningful work life can take time, and just like a real journey, the path may not be straight forward.


Post Grad

Tell us about your career so far?
When I graduated, I didn’t have a job lined up, so I kept nannying and freelancing while I interviewed for positions at various companies. After a few months, Lipscomb’s Business Office (where I had worked as a student) contacted me about an opening. I thought it would be something to keep me afloat for a few months, but it turned into something I really enjoyed. I worked there as cashier for a year and then was promoted to Student Accounts Representative. I held that position for 3 years and really expanded my knowledge and skills. I grew in ways that I didn’t expect. Serving in that role pushed me to improve my math skills, my leadership abilities, and my capacity for dealing with conflict. Collecting money is not easy…

During my time at Lipscomb, I also worked as a freelance journalist. Freelancing gave me an opportunity to pursue my passions for writing and storytelling. I wrote regularly for Interpreter magazine, the publication for The United Methodist Church, and also wrote two cover stories for Sisterhood magazine. Working for Sisterhood gave me the chance to interview Mandisa and Kari Jobe, two Christian musicians that I love. It was really fun and a special privilege!

This fall I began a new job at The Upper Room. Though my time at Lipscomb was wonderful, I had begun to feel that I needed a transition if I was going to continue learning and growing. And I wanted to do what I really love and more fully embrace my gifts and my journalism/English degree. I now serve as Team Assistant for our Administration, Interpretation, and Development team. In this role, every day looks different – sometimes I’m processing invoices or coordinating logistics for meetings; other times I’m proofreading website content; other times I’m acting as a sounding board for our publisher’s latest ideas; other times I’m calling donors to thank them for supporting our work. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with our books & marketing team to select covers for new books we’re publishing, and I’ve worked with the editions team on selecting meditations for our daily devotional guide. Regardless of the specific tasks, each day I know that I’m a part of an organization that makes a difference in the spiritual lives of people around the world. That brings me a great sense of satisfaction.

How have your experiences and involvement in college set you up for success in your career and life post grad?
My internship, campus publication experience, and freelance opportunities in college really served me well with finding more freelance jobs after graduation. I think my ability to maintain multiple jobs while also being a full-time student during college prepared me for balancing a full-time job and part-time job as an adult.

On the flip side, what are the biggest challenges or differences you’ve experienced post grad that you didn’t expect or didn’t feel prepared for?
Insurance – Why is health insurance so complex and confusing?? I never feel very confident that I’ve made the right choice on the best health care plan! I need a health advisor, please.

Budgeting – I’m bad at this game. Life is just too fun and too full of opportunities, and my bank account is always resisting my urge to enjoy! 😉 Let’s hope that before I’m 30, I learn how to balance my finances more strategically.

At this stage, what are a few of your strengths and weaknesses?
Anticipating needs and meeting them thoroughly/efficiently

Connecting with people and building relationships

Editing – If there’s a typo, I’ll find it. If you need something proofread, I’m your girl!

Organizing

How do you stay motivated when work gets really busy or difficult?
Make a thorough to-do list

Take a walk

Practice some deep breathing

Work-life balance? How do you stay afloat and refreshed?

Read

Journal – Pen to paper continues to be one of the best ways for me to know myself and feel grounded in life.

Walk – It’s amazing how a little time on a nature trail can restore me.

Spend time with friends

What in your #PostGradLife are you most proud of so far?
Conflict Management certificate – During my time in the Business Office, I realized that I needed to gain some knowledge and skills around addressing conflict. No one in my office seemed prepared or certain of how to handle the difficult conversations we had each day. So, I decided to take advantage of Lipscomb’s Institute for Conflict Management. I took 15 hours of graduate coursework, earned a certificate in conflict management, and then put those skills to work in my daily interactions with customers. I also did my best to share that knowledge with my team so that we could all do better and feel more confident.

Leadership in Business Office – Though I was one of the youngest employees in the office, I had more experience in the office than many of my coworkers. (The stress of the job leads to a lot of turnover, so several employees came in after I started.) These coworkers looked to me for leadership and support, and I did my best to, as one of my professors would say, “lead up and lead out” with those in my office.

Mentoring college women – I love college students, and I consider it an honor to be a mentor in the lives of several young women at Lipscomb. Being with them brings me joy and teaches me about the many opportunities we have to learn from one another.

Freelance work – especially my interviews with Mandisa and Kari Jobe

What does life look like right now? Hobbies and interests? What outside of work are you passionate about?
The Contributor – On Saturday mornings, I volunteer at a local organization that provides economic opportunities for homeless and formerly homeless people in the Nashville area. These men and women teach me so much about determination, resilience, and positivity.

Ethos Church – I’m really involved in my church, serving on the set up team, participating in a house church (small group), and offering leadership & insight & support wherever I can.

Being an aunt – I have 3-year-old nephew Walter and an almost-1-year-old niece Elanor. They are precious, and being their aunt is so fun!

Compassion International – I sponsor 3 children with Compassion International. Being connected with these kids and their families reminds me of the similarities among people all over the world. Their letters make me smile. Sponsoring them helps me know that I’m doing something meaningful with my life. I’m participating in something bigger than myself and spending my money in a way that makes a lifetime impact on these kids and their families. In 2014, I was able to travel to Burkina Faso and meet Veronique, my sweet little girl there. It was an amazing experience that continues to shape me!

What path are you looking to take next? Any long-term goals?
Becoming an editor in the publishing world or working in communications/marketing/development for a non-profit… I’m 28 and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life!

Even though I’m type A and a chronic overachiever, I’m actually not much of a goal-setter. I prefer to pay attention to what’s happening in the here and now and be open to opportunities as they come my way. I trust that as I say yes to what seems right in the current season, it will lead me toward a good path for the future. Maybe that’s foolish. But I think, for me, it’s a healthy balance of being proactive while maintaining open hands and an open heart.

Just for Fun

What is essential to your morning routine to start the day off right?

Coffee + a little time to sit quietly in my recliner reading and enjoying said coffee 🙂

Do you have a must-have vice like caffeine or item you can’t live without in your workspace?
Spotify – must have music!

Good pens

Post it notes

What does it say about me if my vices are post-it notes and good pens? I’m a nerd, but I’ve learned to embrace it!

If you were to have another career, all limitations aside, what would it be?
Professor

University president

CEO of a startup

COO at a tech company

Boss lady at a New York fashion mag

Moment of truth, what do you really miss about college?
I miss the freedom of pre-adulthood… plenty of independence but few real responsibilities like paying bills or choosing health insurance

Living with my best friends and always having someone to hang out with

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Emily took me to my very first K-State football game during my freshman year in 2009. Look how little we look!

Emily, thank you so much for participating as a guest on my series. Hoping my plan for a trip to Nashville next year works out!

Cheers!

So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 15

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five”  or a “Life Lately” except it’s probably not Friday, and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my glam #postgradlife. See past posts HERE}

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1. Hokie Country

Man, I am tired.
I was planning on getting this “So There’s That” out LAST Friday before my weekend started, but here I am on the following Thursday and struggling to wrap it up.
This past weekend I road tripped down to Blacksburg, VA, home to Virginia Tech, to visit my good friend Chelsea.
Chelsea and I lived together at Smurthwaite Scholarship House for two years at K-State and she was my “big sis” in the house. I have always felt so lucky because while some big and little sis pairs do not really connect, mine has turned into a life long friend. Chelsea is a PhD student and invited me and Katie, another K-State friend who lives in Baltimore, to come down for the spring football game. It was a FULL weekend, complete with girl talk, tailgating, complaining about undergrads, crab ragoons, watching an entire season of Archer and a REALLY bad sunburn for me.

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Me and Chelsea 🙂
katie and chelsea
Katie, Chelsea and me.

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Solid start to a fun day!

2. Proud Big Sister

Note to self, wathcing live golf scoring on a computer is almost just as nerve wracking as watching a live, fast-paced sport.

Last week my sister, a senior playing golf for the Lewis-Clark State Warriors, played in the Frontier Conference Championship. Although her team did win the regular season championship, they still had to win the tournament in order to go to nationals in Georgia (which I would to traveled to). Unfortunately they came up a little short and placed second. But I am still so proud of Janci. She attacked this season with hard work, commitment and a good attitude. I know she was pretty sad to have played her last tourney as a student-athlete, but I know she is so thankful that she pushed herself to that level.

And she didn’t lose by any means. She was an 2nd Team All-Conference player, a Academic All-Conference student-athlete and at the tournament she was recognized with the Champion of Character Award for the season.

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My family cheering her on in Arizona. Really wish I could have been there.

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3. Welcome to the World Robin Michelle!

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One of my best friends and freshman roommate, Leah finally welcomed her little beautiful little girl into the world on April 4! I am so excited for her and Ryan, and can not wait to hold her when I visit Kansas at the end of May!

4. #WorkLife

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I am always so excited and a bit relieved when I project that I put a lot of thought and hard work into turns out how I envisioned it. Two of the overseas offices for the organization that I work for are celebrating 50 and 50 years this year and these two commemorative programs were used at the celebrations that took place earlier this month.

5. Lip Sync Battle with Melissa McCarthy

In my next life, Melissa and I are going to be BEST FRIENDS.
I have been a super fan since her early days on my all-time favorite show Gilmore Girls and it has been fun to see her career take off. Her recent Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon officially replaces this one with Joseph Gordon Levitt as my FAVORITE.

6. Gilmore Girls Retro Poster

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Speaking of Gilmore Girls, I am REALLY trying to convince myself that I do NOT need to buy this retro fan art for my new apartment. I am trying to downsize and simplify… but the jury is still out on this and the other two posters I stumbled upon on Etsy.

7. Bye Marilyn

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Sometimes you just have to let go.
When I was maybe 15 or 16 my Aunt Michelle was recorating her living room and let me have this huge canvas of Marilyn Monroe. For whatever reason I always loved this picture, and so it hung in my room through high school and once I moved out of the scholarship house at K-State, Marilyn made her way across the country to become a part of our random college decor. My roommates pretty much hated her, saying that she was creepy. But over time she became the best conversation starter and a bit of a roommate joke (hence why we referred to the picture as another person and not an object.) When I moved to DC I did not really have room for her so she went into storage underneath my bed. I am getting ready to move again to a new apartment next month and decided that it was probably time to retire her.

8. Alex’s Snapchat

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This should not be THAT funny.
But it was enough for me to screen shot it and send it to 5 other people.
Someone in grad school has way too much time on their hands…
#easilyamused

9. Disney Princesses Singing in Their Native Languages

Guys, maybe it is just because I grew up on most of these movies, but these videos are seriously really cool! I knew what countries quite a few of them were based in, but others were a bit of a surprise. Ariel in The Little Mermaid is Danish? Who knew!

10. Drink The District

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A couple of weeks ago one of my new DC friends Elissa joined me, my co-worker and his group for a fun afternoon at Drink the District, a beer and wine festival.
Despite the chilly temps in April (love my new beanie!) fun was definitely had.
Lots of fun.

11. Carpool Karaoke

I’ve explained my love for James Corden before…

And now I am officially obsessed with his Carpool Karaoke segments. My favorites include Adele, Sia and both of the Biebs (#noshame). This link below features and ranks each of the guests that have participated so far:

https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/james-corden-carpool-karaoke-clips-ranking?ref=twitter-869

Yo James, when you are ready I have a list of requests for you to consider.

12. Word Love

Quotes that I have saved to my phone lately.

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13. America Survives

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I refuse to talk about the elections on my blog or social media. There are already enough people blabbing on and on about it. But regardless of who you are backing, you have to admit that this is at least a little amusing.

14. 50 Design Terms Explained Simply for Non-Designers

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This is a great resource regardless of your level of expertise in design.
Read HERE.

15. On the Road with Wheat Foods Council

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http://www.ontheroadwithwheatfoods.com/

This is fun way to learn about wheat foods in the United States!

16. Fire Away

Seriously. Though. Put. This. On. Repeat.
Of course I also loved his performance with his wife at the ACM Awards.

17. Prairie Star Tournament Champion

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My office takes the Men’s NCAA March Madness tournament serious and yours truly ran away with the win. Thanks for the loss Michigan State.

18. Perspective

perspective - rainSource: Kansas Wheat

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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Kansas, Life at Random

Mason Jars, Indie Records and Bleeding Purple

It seems to be that we tend to mark our miles or associate different times in our lives with the things that we obssesed over during that time. Whatever the fad was that we were addicted to or spent what later seemed like a ridiculous amount of time talking about. And they are not always big obviously things, but items, anecdotes, inside jokes and trends that serve as the placeholder for the memories and experiences that stuck with us the most. So in this case, I just finished my senior fall semester, and what does that make me think of?

Mason jars, indie records and bleeding purple.

I’m sure I could give a much more thorough explanation, but I also believe that obsessions are never quite supposed to be understood, so I will give you this. Everything tastes better and looks better in a mason jar; the weirder name, the better the band…and my indie record will always be much cooler; and this semester will always be remembered for its football season that gave me chills because of the moments as a fan and not because of the weather. I think I actually lost Twitter followers because I used the hashtag #EMAW one too many times for some people’s taste.

This semester was a rockstar one, marked with lots of things, mostly good that make me extremely thankful to be where I am at and surrounded by wonderful people both near and from a far. Looking forward, if my last semester as a student is anything close to my one this fall, I think I will do just fine.

These are just a snapshot of some of my favorite moments from this semester. Thanks for being a part of the fun. Enjoy!

Family at the K-State vs. Miami tailgate
Family at the K-State vs. Miami tailgate
Excited to share one of my favorite parts of being a student.
Excited to share one of my favorite parts of being a student.
Reunited with my AFA Student Advisory team family.
Reunited with my AFA Student Advisory team family.
My IGP work girls.
My IGP work girls.
Smurthwaite shenanigans during the annual alumni dinner.
Smurthwaite shenanigans during the annual alumni dinner.
My very best friend and soul sister. Happy birthday Megan!
My very best friend and soul sister. Happy birthday Megan!
Tailgating girls.
Tailgating girls.
Waiting for the football team to arrive after the big win at Oklahoma.
Waiting for the football team to arrive after the big win at Oklahoma.
Logan Mize Concert with Jancey and Megan.
Logan Mize Concert with Jancey and Megan.
One of my favorites came for the Logan Mize concert.
One of my favorites came for the Logan Mize concert.
Ambassador friends.
Ambassador friends.
Eastern Oregon > Western Oregon....but Oregonians + K-State = Awesome!
Eastern Oregon > Western Oregon….but Oregonians + K-State = Awesome!
Gosh I'm going to miss this one.
Gosh I’m going to miss this one.
Blaine and Tanner.
Blaine and Tanner.
Smurthwaite Class of 2010
Smurthwaite Class of 2010
Two steppin' swing dancin crippled fools.
Two steppin’ swing dancin crippled fools.
Happy Birthday Kelly!
Happy Birthday Kelly!
Keeping with old traditions.
Keeping with old traditions.
Roomies. Best Friends.
Roomies. Best Friends.
Big sis/Little Sis Football buddies.
Big sis/Little Sis Football buddies.
Beautiful night for some K-State football.
Beautiful night for some K-State football.
Logan Mize concert at Longhorns.
Logan Mize concert at Longhorns.
Old roommates back to visit!
Old roommates back to visit!
Big XII Champions!
Big XII Champions!
My favorite band geek.
My favorite band geek.

– Amanda

Life at Random

#MonthofThanksgiving – Part 3

Wrapping up my #MonthofThanksgiving by sharing Part 3. Hope everyone had a wonderful month and got a chance to reflect back on a few of the things that they are thankful for. I’m glad that I did. Wishing everyone Happy Holidays, I am pretty excited to finally be on my home in just 12 days! Enjoy.

#Day21 I am thankful for childhood #bestfriends that still support each other though we’re thousands of miles apart#MonthofThanksgiving

Kay, Chole and I as senior's in high school.
Kay, Chole and I as seniors in high school.

#Day22 I am thankful for technology that lets me be with my family on days that being far away stings a little bit more #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day23 I am thankful for faith, hope and love, and being taught to believe in each. #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day24 I am thankful for Caden Eli. 5 years ago today he was born and changed a lot of lives, including mine. #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day25 I am thankful for my roommate Kyla, for being my voice of reason & favorite crazy redhead all in one. #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day26 I am thankful for my mentors, who are there to lift me up, challenge and push me to be better and dream big #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day27 I am thankful for Smurthwaite Scholarship House, my sisters and the memories it has given me #home #smurthielove #MonthofThanksgiving

Seniors back for this fall's alumni dinner.
Senior Smurthie’s back for this fall’s alumni dinner.

#Day28 I am thankful to have grown up in a family business, to work alongside and learn from those I love and respect #MonthofThanksgivng

#Day29 I am thankful for the talent & character that God has given me & the drive to try to do something good with it #MonthofThanksgiving

#Day30 I am thankful that I get to live in this “crazy, beautiful life” of mine #MonthofThanksgiving

– Amanda