Recent Electronic Media/Broadcasting grad and former AppX host Laurie Pope returns to the studio and is interviewed by her little sis Liz Pope! The two discuss life after graduation, moving to New York and how Appalachian State University alumni have helped make Laurie's transition into "The Real World" a smooth success.
Laurie Pope: Hey everyone! Welcome back to AppX. This is Laurie Pope. I’m actually no longer a student here anymore. I’m here for a visit and am lucky enough to come and do one last podcast. Since I am no longer a student and am what people refer to as a real person now, I have brought my younger sister Liz who is a sophomore here at Appalachian. She will actually be running this podcast as the only Appalachian student present.
Liz Pope: Hi everybody! I am a sophomore here at Appalachian and officially an advertising major; I declared a few weeks ago along with a media studies minor. Yay media! It’s really fun! I am a student in the honors college, which is fun and interesting because I learn a lot of cool things from it. I love Appalachian. I love our school, even when it’s really cold and snowy. Go Neers! So Laurie, what was it like graduating from Appalachian? Was it hard? Was it fun? Was it scary?
Laurie: It was quite an experience. I almost didn’t believe it when I walked across the stage, largely because two of my final grades hadn’t been submitted yet, turns out they were both “A’s” which was great news, but the fact that they weren’t there made me very nervous. The actual graduation was surreal. I felt that I had worked so hard and so long for this and you walk across a stage and you get an empty folder. “We did it and we are done!” Graduating I would say was difficult, but rewarding.
Liz: What was it like giving Chancellor Everts a hug on stage?
Laurie: Oh, that was so fun.
Liz: She seems like a great lady, I hope I get to meet her someday soon.
Laurie: I’m sure that you will. What was it like coming to school here and having a sister around?
Liz: It was cool; it was kind of like having a parent, but a cool parent.
Laurie: Okay good. I didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad.
Liz: No, because I always had somebody there I could ask for help and hang with and eat food with. It was nice.
Laurie: I do remember one time it was the first big snow and it was the first time they knew they were going to cancel classes. It was your freshman year and I was like, “Do you have a winter coat yet?” Amazingly you had not yet acquired a winter coat and you were like, “It’s going to be fine, I’ve got these sweatshirts and I have this rain jacket and it’s going to be okay.” I was like “You are not going to be okay!” So I drove my winter jacket to you and you were like, “I don’t know if this is necessary.” Then the next day it snowed like four feet and it was like negative one thousand degrees.
Liz: That’s true love; you were like “I have this other coat I can wear.” I still have it.
Laurie: It’s easy to underestimate that first snow. I was like, “I should probably just bring her the jacket even though she said she will be fine.”
Liz: Appreciate it! So, graduation...
Laurie: Just so you know Liz said the word “graduation” and her face just melted and her hands are just like “uhhh” down her face.
Liz: It seems so very far away, but also so close at the same time. Once you flew the coop of Appalachain where did you go from there? What was the next step after walking across the stage and getting your empty folder?
Laurie: I didn’t immediately leave App; I had actually signed up to do the Kellar Radio Talent Institute. I actually did that for ten days after I graduated. Someone reached out to our older sister...someone I had met last time I visited her, and she had asked if I was interested in being a video editing intern. I said yes. I’m missing the large part of this. This actually took place in New York. I knew I wanted to move to New York and I was going to do it with or without a job and with or without an internship. Around March or April I had finalized this plan to sell my car and take all my savings and move to New York and just try to make the American Dream happen. Go there and make it work, which it turns out a lot of people do and a lot of them are very successful. I’m sure I will touch on some of those real life examples later. I moved out there with an internship and was very lucky to land a restaurant job almost right away. I packed my house up during the last few days of Kellar and was in New York within forty-eight hours of the end of the Kellar Institute. It was definitely ripping the Band-Aid off moving wise, leaving App and leaving Boone. If I had had to think about it for more than two days it would have been way too hard.
Liz: You spent so much time here.
Laurie: Yes. I spent a lot of time here.
Liz: It’s sad though. So you packed everything up into two suitcases and flew on up.
Laurie: Yeah. I couch surfed for 3 weeks and finally I got an apartment with two friends that I used to go to school with and it’s been so much fun. One is in graduate school for drama therapy and the other landed a sales job. We feel like we did it! We made it!
Liz: How have the Appalachian Alumni you have connected with in New York been a support system for you moving up to the scary north all by your lonesome?
Laurie: There are a ton of Appalachian grads up there. There is an entire alumni chapter. It’s really interesting. Many of my friends are people that graduated from Appalachian but that I didn’t actually know at Appalachian. I had one friend named Bryan who was more a friend of a friend. He saw that I had moved on Facebook and he made sure to reach out and tell me that he remembered me from sophomore year. He said he had been up there a couple of years and that there were lots of App people. He made sure to ask, “Do you have people? I have people.” It was really comforting to know. It is intimidating. When I moved to New York I didn’t eat for two days because I was so anxious. For someone to have said that...it was so comforting. There are a ton of examples. People I graduated with and people I didn’t graduate with that reached out to me. Or someone told me, “Hey call this person! They are great!” For instance my friend Tyler! We totally missed each other at App. We overlapped by a semester or something because he ended up finishing his undergraduate at an internship at David Letterman. Some people told me I should call him and that he was great and now he is one of my best friends in New York.
Liz: All it takes is one meeting with someone. Just one connection and Appalachian can be that. If a random person is wearing an App t-shirt you can just say, “Hey! I know you!” You already have so much in common without even trying.
Laurie: To find those little pieces of home is so comforting. You know, strangers don’t talk to each other on the street in New York but occasionally I have worn an App shirt and someone has just stopped me and asked me if I went to Appalachian and we talked for ten minutes. That doesn’t happen up there! But, you have that App connection and you just know, “This is good people.
Liz: It’s so true and App is such a big school but it feels so small that you always have a mutual friend with someone no matter who they are...you always have a mutual friend. Even if you don’t know them you know someone who does so it’s cool.
Laurie: It is!
Liz: So your real world life...how is that going? How did Appalachian prepare you for that do you think?
Laurie: Oh it’s going great. I was an intern for a network of charter schools this summer and I did an inspirational type of video showing parents talking about teachers and principals. They filmed all of these parent interviews but they were just sitting there with this footage and had nothing to do with it. The first week I was there I was able to understand what they wanted, cut it together and put it to music. It seemed very basic and they were like, “This is fantastic!” I told them I literally used iMovie because I didn’t have Adobe yet. So at the end of the summer they hired me for a full time position doing a lot of that work but also a lot of project management and coordinating. It’s really rewarding. I really like it.
Liz: Awesome! Have you had any realizations of being in the real world?
Laurie: Some realizations I have had looking back you know hindsight is 20/20 and I spent a lot of my senior year in a constant slow anxiety attack. I feel like it was because there is so much pressure to have things figured out. People were always asking, “Oh what are you doing after college?” And in my heart I wanted to say, “If I had a plan I would have already told you! You better believe when I have a plan, I’m going to tell everyone!”
Liz: Haha true! Facebook statuses everywhere.
Laurie: You would see one person land their dream job right out of college and suddenly you think everyone has a job but that’s not true. I actually keep in touch with a lot of people from my major through a Facebook group and we talk about how it is working in broadcasting. Someone wrote, “I never sleep. I’m very broke but I’m in radio and I love it.”
Liz: Well, no one is supposed to get their dream job right out of college. You have to work your way up. That’s normal.
Laurie: For sure! It’s just like, “We’re doing it! We’re doing it guys! We have jobs!”
Liz: That’s so good. Are there any people in your major or otherwise that you would like to thank for your very apparent success in your career path right now?
Laurie: This is going to be a long list. In my major one of the people who talked me through my senior year was Dr. Davis. During my last semester, I had him everyday because I had two classes with him and they were on different days. He had to hang out with me five days a week. Sometimes I’d stay after class and we would have life talks. He was very supportive and he told me about his path through life and I realized after talking to everyone, there isn’t some orthodox plan to success. Everyone has this crazy path and things don’t happen on the timeline that you think they should. It’s usually for the best. In Dr. Spiceland’s class I learned pretty much everything I needed to know about interviews and resumes from all the fake job interviews and sending in portfolios. I ended up using all of that when it was time to apply for jobs. It was basically like, “I’ve already did this.” I built a website for myself in one of my classes and I put that on my resume. I wish I had a list of everyone from my EMB major and the radio station. Dan Valley is such a great mentor in the radio department. I appreciated getting to know him better and having him teach us at Keller. Jeff Goodman, his classes were not only the most fun I’ve ever had but also some of my favorite. I learned a lot. Janice Pope! I took for Mass Media and Society and I learned so much not only about social justice issues, but also the world around me and different forms of media. It was so interesting and I didn’t miss a single day of that class. I just really like her. The first day of class she walked in and tripped over something and was like “Oh I almost broke my neck!” or something like that. I just knew immediately I was going to like this woman. Hughlene Frank was my sponsor for an internship I had with University Communications. For the last year or two at App I was an intern for the Appalachian Media Production or AMP team here for University Communications. A lot of the videos, audio, and podcasts I got to be a part of and I learned a lot while meeting some of the greatest people ever. Around that time in my life I had started working part-time in a restaurant and joined the radio station. I moved into an apartment by myself and I think because of things like the internship it actually helped me grow as a person. For Hughlene sponsor me and to put me through two years of an internship, I was so grateful for her and for everything that I learned. I could never put it into words what my time being spent here in this podcast studio and what University Communications did for my life. It goes to show that on-campus internships are awesome and often life changing. Don’t be afraid to look some of those up and get involved in places where you wouldn’t expect. I couldn’t imagine college without having been here, it would have been way less fun way less cool.
Liz: True! Do you have any really important advice for me as I approach graduation in two years? Oh my gosh! That is so scary!
Laurie: I think I may have already touched on this, but first I wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time panicking my senior year. The yearlong anxiety attack, which is easier, said than done. The fact is most people don’t have a job right out of college. Most people have to look and a lot of people want to move. If you haven’t thought about moving I think it’s something to consider. It’s okay to not go into your field right after graduation. I have friends that went to nanny in Europe for a year or took as many gap years as they wanted between college and real life. Another piece of advice is to honestly prepare for the real world. Think about it, I am an adult. I have to take responsibility for myself, my health and my space. Make sure you have a safe space that you feel comfortable in to call home. Maybe it’s not even your room maybe it’s on campus like the multicultural center. Make sure you have a place to call home where you have a space to be yourself and that you have people that you can connect with. You’ll find those people by reaching out and being involved and things like that. Other advice...Cross at the crosswalk!
Liz: I jaywalk 321. I’m sorry!
Laurie: It’s okay I did too. Here is some New York sidewalk advice. One: get your head out of your phone. Two: if you have headphones on please don’t have them so loud that you are oblivious to your surroundings, because that’s not only dangerous, but also idiotic.
Liz: People do that while driving, I’ve seen it.
Laurie: What! They have headphones in?
Liz: Yes, it should be illegal.
Laurie: Other sidewalk advice. This is very New York specific. Don’t talk to or look at anyone.
Liz: Unless you know them from Appalachian State University.
Laurie: Yes, unless they are wearing an App shirt ignore everyone around you. Don’t do that (in Boone). That’s how you will make friends, looking at people and talking to them. Those two things are key for making friendships. Well Liz if you need more advice just text me. I don’t really know how to wrap this up.
Liz: Deuces and then just drop the mic.
Laurie: Well it’s time for me to get out of here. I leave Boone soon and I fly back up to New York, back to the big apple. No one calls it that up there by the way; you will embarrass yourself if you say that up there. This has been Laurie Pope for AppX….
Liz: (Interrupting) No, No you don’t go here so this is my job. This is Liz Pope with AppX and Laurie Pope “visitor.” We will see you next time.
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About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.