A New Perspective: Graduating in the Class of COVID

As of 4:13 p.m. on April 30, 2020, I am a college graduate. I turned in the last research paper of my college career. As quickly as one click submitting that paper via the web, I was a graduate of Michigan State University with the whole world open to me.

Unlike others in my graduating class, I did not have to face the reality of completing a degree and blindly entering the job market in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. I had a job at Vanguard Public Affairs waiting for me.

Helen Korneffel, VPA Communications Manager

Landing a full-time job immediately after (or even before) graduating from college is a feat unto itself, but having a job waiting for me during a massive, economically detrimental pandemic? It’s unheard of. That being said, I am immensely thankful for the opportunity to shine at Vanguard and for the events that brought me to this place of contentment.

My first internship in the world of public relations at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed my passion for the field and helped me make valuable connections in Lansing.

This position and the work I did was what attracted the attention of Vanguard’s TJ Bucholz. TJ reached out to me with an offer of a communications manager position at the firm in October. I did not have to frantically job search like so many of my peers because I knew I would continue on to work full-time at Vanguard since November 2019.

I am more than ready for the challenge of working in the public relations field during this trying time in world history. As the Vanguard communications manager, I do a bit of everything communications-related for the firm — social media, internal communications, external communications, etcetera.

This broad range of assignments plays to my skillset of being able to juggle about 100 things at once. Before Vanguard found me, I was already doing everything I possibly could to stand out as a powerhouse in my field. I was the editor-in-chief of The Red Cedar Log —Michigan State University’s official yearbook — and led a team of 26 students.

I was vice president of member services of MSU Public Relations Student Society of America. I was a student member on The State News Board of Directors. I also played women’s water polo and practiced for two hours every night of the week.

How did I have time for all this, you might ask? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. I didn’t choose one organization to stand out in — I chose them all. To top everything off, I graduated from Michigan State in three years, a full year ahead of schedule.

I am thrilled to enter the full-time working world as an eager young professional who is ready to learn and thrive. Despite the current global climate, I am more than prepared to continue to provide top-notch services to Vanguard’s clients.

It is a whole new world out there, but this newly-minted college graduate and communications manager could not be more ready for the challenge.

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