Q: Can you talk about how you’ve spent your life since graduating from K?
About a month after graduation, I moved to Chicago and started a year of service with City Year, an Americorps program focusing on education reform. When that ended, I moved in with three other Kalamazoo College alums and started working for my current employer. I started taking yoga classes and cooking a lot, and I’ve learned to prioritize my well-being, which I didn’t know how to do while I was at K.
Q: How have you been adjusting to your post-grad life? Is it radically different than Kalamazoo?
I think I’m fortunate because City Year had a great sense of community (though very different from that of Kalamazoo), and that made the post-grad transition to a new home pretty smooth. I was in a corps of 200, so I was constantly surrounded by people, which was a pretty familiar feeling from the way that Kalamazoo operates. I currently spend probably 70% of my social time with Kalamazoo grads, so I’m definitely not trying to escape my K memories.
Q: What do you do for work now?
I’m currently working as an event producer for a virtual events/webcasting company, so essentially, I create and produce online event experiences for customers and partners of Microsoft and their family of products.
Q: How did you get into your line of work?
This company is big on referrals, and a friend of mine had actually been here for a couple of years and put in a good word for me (note: networking is a real thing – soak up every networking event the CCPD has, and not just for the free refreshments). I did a little bit of design work as a hobby during my AmeriCorps year, and I had some event planning experience from K, so it ended up being a pretty good fit.
Q: What experiences during your time at K do you think prepared you for this job?
More than anything, K helped me to develop a strong work ethic, which is ironic, because when I was a student, I spent ~10% of my time on actual academic studies. Between working for OSI and coordinating Frelon and a cappella events, on top of normal crazy juggling that K students do, virtual event planning and all of the time and project management skills that it involves isn’t too bad.
Q: What advice do you have for students who are graduating in June?
Well, I’m sure it’s starting to hit them that they’re about to leave the fair Arcadian hills, and everything I can think of is very cliche. Do whatever you need to do to find closure on your Kalamazoo experience so that a week after graduation, you’re not looking back and thinking “well damn, I wish I would have rolled down the quad one more time” or whatever. It can also be easy to feel isolated in beliefs and experiences that rang so true at K, so hold close the friendships you’ve made.
Q: What’s next for Charlie?
Well, I’m actually going to a wedding next month in Kalamazoo, and the pair getting married are two wonderful friends that met during our senior year at K. I’m expecting that between the crazy amount of love these two have for each other and all of the Kalamazoo nostalgia, the wedding guests/alums are going to be feeling some feelings.