Life After NU: Decisions

Making choices comes with a certain amount of anxiety. We spend four years under the label of student, a label that implies we could be anything, but have not committed to anything yet. At one point or another, be it four years or six or ten, we give up that label and begin making choices about who we will become. But making choices doesn’t mean giving up on everything else, nor does it mean we’re stuck with the paths we begin down.

I’m a 2014 graduate and have recently taken a job with a consulting firm here in Chicago. They’re stationed out of a beautiful building in the west loop. Not one of the glass and steel high rises, but a building with exposed brick and original beams. I have loved my time meeting, interviewing and training with members of the company. I made a very conscious choice to join Duo Consulting, but it was not the choice I thought I would be making four years ago. I will be the new Inbound Marketing Coordinator, meaning I’ll be working with clients on strategies about how to better market their business, how to create better online content, and how to write better content. I’ll also be looking at the companies’ website analytics and reporting back to them on how the strategies are working.

My new employer
My new employer

I met Michael (the Duo CEO) and Ariel at the SoC and Medill career fair (yes, career fairs can work). I had entered Northwestern as an engineer, transferred into Weinberg to pursue Physics, then the school of Communication for Film and playwriting, and finally back to Weinberg for a degree in writing from the English department. I’m not the best at making clear-cut and long-term decisions, and consulting was not high on my list of potential future careers.

At the time I had several applications lingering at places like The Poetry Foundation, Greywolf Press, and Pearson Publishing. I also had some informal plans to move out to New York or Los Angeles or even back home to Ohio. But Michael and Ariel amazed me with their intelligence, knowledge of the industry, and commitment to the company. It was clear that this would not be a company where I would be bored, so I gave them my resume expecting nothing of it.

Later that same day Michael met me out in the hallway. He explained the job to me in greater depth, and he asked me if I would be interested in a full-time position. I was floored, and wasn’t sure what to say. He asked me to think about it. A week later we sat down in his office for a formal interview. We talked more about the job, but mainly we talked about the type of worker I am, and the type of learner. We discussed my interests, and specifically what they were looking for in a full time candidate. Then I toured the office. I met the interns, and the other company that shares our office space.

2014 Grads

In the days that followed, as I waited to hear back about their decision, friend of mine told me—after I had expressed some concern about my commitment to my new job—that a new challenge will be great, but if it doesn’t work it doesn’t have to be the rest of your life. Six months down the road, if you hate where you are, you don’t have to stay. We’re young. We’re recent grads. We’re still learning.

Even though I’ve accepted the job offer doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my other pursuits. My first professional play has just extended its five-week run to eight. I’m developing a new play, soon to be pitched. And I’m still polishing my senior thesis.

Several weeks ago I had an exit interview for my writing sequence, and I was asked what are your three goals for the following year. With all the excitement of applications and graduation I hadn’t thought much about this, so I chose the things that felt the most important. I said that I wanted to do an excellent job with my new career. I wanted to commit fully to a new challenge. I also wanted to continue writing every day, if only for a half hour. Finally I wanted to stay in touch with all those friends I’d made in college, friends who are undoubtedly feeling the same way I am now.

Jon Gleason is a recent graduate of the School of Communication, and majored in RTVF and English (Creative Writing). He now works for Duo Consulting in Chicago.

Adventures of an EPICS Intern: Navigating the Big Move

Welcome to the magical world of the unpaid intern! Stretched ahead of you are miles and miles of luxurious Californian highways, beaches everywhere you turn, and massive buildings housing production companies both big and small. This is your stomping ground for two months, and you have everything in your power to make the most of it.

In the spring of my freshman year, I thought I’d ignorantly try to secure myself an internship in Los Angeles for the summer. By some stroke of luck, after sending my resume out to over twenty production companies, I received an email from the intern coordinator at Endgame Entertainment asking for an interview. My mother and I took a side-trip out to Beverly Hills during spring break, and a week later, I received a call informing me that I’d gotten the position! I was thrilled at first, but soon a nauseating feeling sunk in as a terrifying question popped into my head: What now?

After one summer with its ups and downs, I can confidently say that I’m looking forward to moving out there again with some new insight to smooth out the transition. This summer I will be interning with MGM Television Studios in the development and production department. In this first blog post, as I make the trek from Portland to Los Angeles, I’ve laid out a couple tips on how to get settled after that initial decision, based off my experience from last summer.


The UCLA AEPhi sorority house I lived in last summer
The UCLA AEPhi sorority house I lived in last summer

Finding reasonably priced housing around LA is not as hard as it may seem. However, you must be open to subletting from strangers, and perhaps sharing an apartment with strangers. But they won’t be strangers for long! I’ve had most luck with Uloop, which helps students find housing near university campuses. This summer, I’m living in an apartment in Westwood with a friend from Northwestern. Last summer, I lived in a UCLA sorority house, which I found from doing a little surfing on the UCLA summer housing website. Westwood is a fantastic college town (very similar to Evanston, in fact). If your internship is located closer to other universities, like USC or Loyola Marymount, make sure to check out those campus websites for housing info!


The car my grandfather graciously allowed me to borrow for last summer
The car my grandfather graciously allowed me to borrow for last summer

I cannot stress enough how essential it is to have a car in LA. However, it can be a difficult investment, especially if you’re too young to rent a car. Fortunately, I was able to borrow a car from family members for both summers. There are still a few viable options if borrowing is out of the question. A friend of mine had her car shipped out to LA from the Midwest, which I hear can be cheaper than renting for the entire summer. In addition, some car companies do rent to individuals under the age of twenty-five. That being said, a few friends of mine have survived the summers without a car. It’s a much cheaper option, but it severely decreases your independence. You become dependent upon the public transportation system, which can be quite unreliable in Los Angeles. You’re also at the mercy of your friends for routine things like grocery shopping, or weekend outings. I’d recommend doing your best to secure a vehicle, even if parallel parking isn’t your strong suit (It’s certainly not mine).

Making Connections

Now that we’ve got all the basics out of the way, let’s get down to the important stuff: Connections. When you’re given the opportunity to spend each day interacting with the people behind the scenes, the people who call the shots, and the people creating the next big thing in Hollywood, you’ve got to maximize your potential. At Endgame, I organized a meeting with Cameron Jewell, one of the Creative Development Executives. All I had to do was shoot him an email, and he was nice enough to spend an hour answering any questions I had about the industry. It was easily the most beneficial part of the entire experience. Not only the CEOs and executive team members will help you gain traction in the industry, your fellow interns are also excellent people to network with. Remember, other interns are college students from across the country, all with enough credibility to get the same opportunities as you! Who knows what they may be doing down the line. At the very least you’ll meet awesome people with many of the same interests as you.

Haley Boston is a rising junior RTVF Major interning at MGM Studios in Los Angeles, California.

Adventures of an EPICS Intern: Final Days at Disney

It’s finally come to my last week at Walt Disney World Resort. Six months have zoomed past, barely giving me time to stop and consider just how much I’ve experienced in such a short period of time. I suppose if I looked back on my internship, I’d remember one thing in particular: the opportunity to produce meaningful content for the Public Affairs division.

Walt Disney World Resort entrance

As a final project of sorts, my team had tasked me with producing a set of videos as a tribute to Mother’s and Father’s Day. My partner-in-crime would be the Professional Intern from Eyes & Ears (Walt Disney World Resort’s internal magazine for Cast Members). With her deep knowledge of Disney property and ear on the ground for good stories, we set out on our mission – to interview as many Cast Members as possible on the best advice their moms and dads had given them.

What followed was perhaps one of the most incredible projects I’ve ever had the opportunity to be part of – not only did I get to travel around our vast property scouting out people to interview, I also got to hear – and help tell – such incredible stories from people who had all eventually found their way to Walt Disney World to pursue their careers. I even got over my lack of confidence with video editing to produce two shorts that I felt I could be proud of.

With Father’s Day around the corner, I am looking forward to seeing the video finally being posted. I hadn’t realized it before, but this was in a way my own small contribution to telling the Disney story – as a company made up of incredible people. I’m lucky to have this as my parting shot.

Geneve is a Senior Communication Studies Major interning at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

SoConnect Weekly Round-up: 6/2 – 6/6

New Internships:

  • Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing – Fall Internship
  • Interscope Records – Sales/Marketing Intern
  • The White House – White House Council on Environmental Quality Fall 2014 Internship
  • Allied-THA- Fall Promotions & Marketing Intern
  • Adventure Stage Chicago – Fall Arts Administration, Education, Marketing & Production Interns

Log into SoConnect to apply for these internship, freelance, and full-time opportunities & more!

Adventures of an EPICS Intern: A Tough Lesson Learned

200px-Chicago_Fire_Soccer_Club.svgIt’s difficult for me to truly explain how much my internship has influenced me. I have met a lot of great people who are so kind and generous. The support I have received from my colleagues, both in the office and on the soccer field, has meant a lot to me in my time with the Chicago Fire. Many of the staff share the same emotion and passion for soccer that I feel as well. Thus, making working with these individuals so much fun and easy. There have been many highs at my internship from the many interviews I have sat in to the practices I have had the opportunity to participate in, but my best moment came June 1, 2014 when the Fire played the Los Angeles Galaxy.

UPWXGMQM0SMARTOLIt was a great game overall, but what made it the best moment of my internship was getting to see my former Northwestern teammate start and play 90 minutes in his first major league soccer appearance. He played a great game. He had a few errors, unfortunately one costly one that led to the Galaxy tying the game, but the effort and work rate that he showed in his first game was inspiring. He was obviously nervous, but I could tell with a few more games under his belt, he will fit in perfectly with this league. I am excited to watch his career unfold and I hope to join him in the near future. It would be an honor to play side-by-side with him again.


Tyler Miller is a Communication Studies major, interning with the Chicago Fire this quarter.

Adventures of an EPICS Inters: Thanks For Sticking With Me


I can’t believe we’ve made it through another quarter and year – how did we get to Dillo day? – and everyone is ready for summer. The same is happening at Carol Fox & Associates, and I get the added bonus of experiencing it all through three very hot and sweaty more months, as I’ve agreed to stay on for the summer. This has certainly been more of a fun and fruitful quarter and experience than I could have imagined.

Summer is a time of exciting events around here! One of our clients, Cirque Shanghai: Warriors, just opened on Navy Pier, which is extra thrilling for me because I’m a sucker for Cirque shows. On Monday, I worked a lunch for Arts Alliance of Illinois, and was reminded of how lucky I am to be working in a field that meshes so nicely with the world of theater. It was inspiring to see everyone from congressmen to the heads of prominent Chicago theaters come together to express their dedication to funding and supporting the arts and arts education, especially as someone who benefits from arts education every day.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 1.03.14 PM
CF&A staff and me at the Arts Alliance Luncheon!

Theatre can feel like a very specific major – at times, too specific – but I have learned in my time at Carol Fox that the entertainment industry is enormous, interdisciplinary and diverse – not to mention it all needs PR. I’ve learned that lesson well. This internship has opened my eyes to ways to dip my toes into many different proverbial pools. Next week, for example, we have an event with Morgan Freeman. In a sad turn of events, I’m in a show that conflicts with the event, but it’s still the closest I ever have and (probably) ever will come to Morgan Freeman, narration voice of my dreams.

Thanks for sticking with me on this adventure! I’m so excited to see where it takes me further.

Bridget McNamara is a Junior Theatre major interning with Carol Fox & Associates this quarter.