How social media has helped me do good

So one of the good things about unemployment is you have lots of time to do things you would never normally do. For me, this has been volunteering. Not that I was a person who didn’t care about homeless shelters or cancer research in the past, but I was overwhelmed with grad school, work and life in general so I missed a lot of opportunities. Well, with my new found freedom and internship with Yelp I found myself participating in races and climbs to benefit all kinds of organizations. Social media definitely had a part in two that I recently participated in. Continue reading


How Social Media Is Making Life More Awkward

Compared to the average person I have a pretty heavy online presence. You can find out a lot about me just by goggling my name. After weeding through the other Laura Gardner’s in the world you can find out where I went to school, read my Master’s capstone and gaze upon many pictures of my friends and family. For the most part I want this information to be out there so future employers can learn about me but social media didn’t serve this purpose for me until recently. Pre-2008 I used Facebook, MySpace and Friendster and was really loose with my information. I posted pictures that would make employers question whether or not I still had a functioning liver and my potty mouth was in full-effect. Since then I’ve cleared out pictures on Facebook and rarely status update, deleted my MySpace and does Friendster even exist? I didn’t realize until this week that it’s not enough. Continue reading

Finding new opportunities through Facebook

It’s no secret that Facebook is a major part of most 20-somethings lives now. We use it to stay in touch with friends, check-out potential significant others (okay, so I learned my lesson) and can watch our cousin’s baby grow up from across the country. Even better, I found a great gig through it this past year. Continue reading

Grad School Vs. Real World Experience – Part 3

You’ve probably skipped my boring story about how I stumbled upon grad school. Admittedly, I left out all the juicy details like celebrity encounters (encounters = saying hi and maybe a creepy wink on my behalf) and drunken nights (3 p.m. drinks after finals so drunken evenings maybe..?), but I wanted to give a little background so you can see where I’m coming. NOW, here is my stance on the grad school vs real world experience debate. Continue reading

Grad School vs Real World Experience – Part 2

On September 1st, 2008 my parents and I packed up my Dad’s minivan and drove from the Midwest to East Coast. Over the summer I had connected with 3 other incoming Emerson grad students from across the country to live with , flown up to Boston for a weekend to find an apartment and worked out all the kinks with the landlord. Move-in day was a mess. The door was locked and the landlord was MIA. We finally got inside and the place was a mess and full of nasty old furniture that we ended throwing over the balcony. I finally settled in and began grad school a week later.

I found a part-time job in October. I was hired by a Newbury St salon to be a receptionist/event planner/whatever they need type. The pay was shockingly low but I figured it provided the flexibility I needed as a full-time grad student. I got through my first year of grad school with no major problems and enjoyed the summer in Boston. The next year I applied for a job at W Boston, which was opening in October. After months of interviewing I was hired to work at the welcome desk. I started working full-time and taking two classes at Emerson that October. The hours I spent at work and school usually totaled around 65-70, more while I was doing research for my capstone paper. I  finished the program and graduated in front of my family and friends in May of 2010.

I started looking for positions in April and was mostly using the apply on-line approach. My phone was silent and I really didn’t have any idea where to turn. I sought advice from the career center at Emerson. The counselor shed some light on my situation, saying that a job search needs to be thought of as a strategic plan. Lay out your steps and execute. Sounds easy enough right?

In August I was told I would be working overnights. I literally lost an entire month of my life working overnight and sleeping during the day. I felt like a zombie and probably looked like one too. My job search fell even further behind and I saw myself being stuck in hospitality forever, missing holidays and working bizarre hours. This is when I talked to my Dad and he gave me the best advice I think I’ve ever gotten. He said “Come home”. He and my Mom offered to put me up at home while I dedicated my time to finding the right job. So I packed up my stuff, found a subleaser and put in my two weeks at work.

So here I am, 3 months later and back in Cincinnati. I have my reasons for both sides of the Grad School vs. Real World Experience debate and next post I’ll explain why I stand where I do.

Grad school vs Real World Experience – Part 1

Brazen Careerist is hosting a debate on Thursday that hits home for me. It hits really hard. They’re asking what’s better, grad school or real world experience? I personally think it’s not even debatable. There are benefits and drawbacks for both. Your reasons for seeking either should be based on which will get you farther due to your own set of circumstances.¬†My story is admittedly pretty crazy but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It wasn’t easy and I spent a lot of time packing, moving, adapting, working, pulling all nighters but in the end I had the time of my life and proved something to myself. Because this as been such a major part of my life I’m going to separate my posts into parts, but hopefully a full picture begins to emerge. Let’s start in 2008. Continue reading

Mind your p’s and q’s – Navigating etiquette in the social media world

Etiquette is a tricky part of life. Our parents teach us that sitting at the table while we eat is proper etiquette and we obey because, well, we have to. As adults, we have to learn on our own. For instance, when someone travels to another country they learn that etiquette isn’t the same everywhere and in order to function in that society you may need to change the way you act and speak. I liken this to the internet, and more specifically social media. There are unspoken rules and reaping the benefits of social networks comes from following them. Continue reading