Some college seniors don’t roll out of bed until 11 a.m. Not me—for the third day in a row, I am up in time for sunrise. It isn’t because I love getting up early. It’s because I need the extra hours to get everything done. My voicemail is full and my to-do list is endless. I am exhausted, but I love it. Such is the life of an event planner.
Before taking an event management class during my sophomore year, I had never even considered a career in the field. For one of the class assignments, I worked with a team of my peers and used the specs for a real venue to create an event proposal that included coordinating with vendors and sticking to a budget. The following year, I took a related upper-level course, Applied Corporate Event Management, and I was hooked.
I put my classroom skills to the test when I was given an opportunity to hire, train, and supervise student staff for an on-campus conference that was being attended by more than 700 admissions professionals. I was on call 24 hours a day for the weeklong conference to help direct the student staff, answer questions, transport people around campus, and assist with the setup of social events. I was also on hand during special events to help the professional staff with any last-minute tasks.
The biggest lesson I learned during the conference is that in the world of event planning, complications are inevitable. What truly matters is how you deal with them. On one of the training days for student event assistants prior to the conference, the power on campus was turned off for routine maintenance.
The dining halls were closed, and the management staff was responsible for feeding the assistants. We had boxed meals for lunch and dinner for more than 40 people, but having no power meant there wasn’t a single operating refrigerator on campus. My solution involved moving about 80 meals into the refrigerator in my off-campus apartment in an hour’s time.
Determination, creativity, and a positive attitude were the keys to problem-solving that week, whether it involved making last-minute changes to the day’s schedule or filling the empty gas tanks of a fleet of golf carts after the pumps had closed. This real-world experience showed me that event planning would be a challenging and exciting career.
I’ve come so far since starting college. Before IC, I didn’t have the confidence to step up in leadership roles. In fact, cold feet almost kept me from coming to Ithaca. Luckily, the Office of Admission staff worked with me to address my apprehensions. They went out of their way to encourage me, and with renewed confidence I was ready for Ithaca College.
It was because of the attentiveness of the admission staff that I decided to work for them as a President’s Host tour guide and become one of the first faces prospective students see when they come for a visit. This job acted as a stepping-stone for much of my personal growth and involvement on campus. It honed my communications skills, which are vital as a tour guide. Effectively telling parents and students about my college experiences and answering questions all while walking backwards is not as easy as it looks. I worked hard, and by the end of my junior year, I was promoted to co-chair of the President’s Host Committee. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, as I made lifelong friends and was introduced to the world of event planning.
As graduation looms in just a few weeks, I know I’ll be ready to tackle whatever challenges come my way. Thanks to IC, I am prepared for the next chapter of my life.
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Fuse is a student produced publication about the Ithaca College experience. All content in the print and web versions of Fuse is developed by current Ithaca College students in a breadth of different areas of study.