[Editor’s Note: from time to time, our alums get in touch and let us know where they are in their careers and life now. Each year Chelsea Contre, a 2013 graduate who double majored in Communications and Business Management, has promised Donna Halper an update on her life post college. Chelsea has been living in the greater New York area for over four years now and works at Carat, “the #1 Global Media Network, and the market leader in digital and diversified media solutions.” Alongside Carat’s CMO, Chelsea leads the marketing initiatives; managing and building the reputation of the agency in the US market. Prior to Carat, Chelsea was a certified wedding planner and event designer in Boston.]
Every few months, I drop a note to my former advisor Donna Halper, to let her know I’m still alive and getting my butt kicked by the “adult world”; and each year Donna asks me to write an alumni update for the Lesley Public Post. Admittedly, I never know what to write in these things because I wouldn’t consider myself an expert of anything, except maybe for knowing where the best coffee shops and the cheapest pizza slices are in New York City.
In 2015, I wrote a piece on finding your voice while pursuing a career. In 2017 my advice was to find a company that allows you to do what you love and aligns to your core values. Looking back now, its admirable that I wrote these pieces of advice, seeing that I’ve only been in the “working world” for 6 years (which is nothing when you start looking at your 401k and hoping to retire early off of these funds). Yet, I still haven’t lost that mentality; and each year that passes I accredit this to the endless support of my family, friends and colleagues.
It took me 6 years to realize that a university helps to build that supportive community. It’s the one place where thousands of people with diverse backgrounds, upbringings, and world views come together and have one thing in common– in this case, Lesley. Why? Well I can’t really answer why they, or you, chose Lesley. Maybe it’s the world-class teaching programs, or the incredible recruiting skills of the athletic department. Maybe it’s the thriving communications program or the art & design offerings that still allow you to double-major so you can have a side hustle after paying the bills. Whatever it is, it got you to Lesley, which is one of the very few places where you can simultaneously be a collegiate all-star athlete and best friends with the kid who failed 6th grade gym class. Take advantage of that.
College may be one of the last opportunities to be on common ground with a wide diverse group of people. The post college world has a way of creating a callused version of yourself, between work deadlines, chores, bills, and, of course, the nation’s political landscape. The little time you do get outside of the responsibilities of keeping your life afloat will most likely be prioritized and spent with people you have known the longest, the people that share the most similarities to you.
At this moment, you have the opportunity to make connections with people entirely opposite of you, to learn new perspectives. Our nation is polarized, and I’m not proposing that one person can change it; but together, all of us, including you the next generation, can change the country we live in. In order to impact the world, you have to listen to all of the voices that have influenced where it currently stands.