From Bulldog to Communications Specialist: Finding a Career In the Pandemic
March 2020 was a difficult time for students across the country. Colleges and universities were shutting down in-person learning and sending kids home for the remainder of the semester. Both professors and students were trying to adjust to the curriculum being shifted online. For seniors, they had to complete their last two months of college at home and online, with no certainty if they were going to be able to walk for graduation. COVID-19 threw a wrench in the plans for millions of students.
Savannah Rymer was in her senior year at TWU when the University sent students home for Spring Break, with the plan to extend Spring Break to two weeks. The hope at that time was that the virus would stop spreading, but of course the spread was far longer and more widespread than was initial thought.
“I was in panic mode. I knew my time on campus was over. Even though they said it was just going to be two weeks, in my heart I knew it wasn’t going to be two weeks,” said Rymer.
The native of nearby Cleveland spent the last two months of her senior year online. The transition was difficult for Rymer because of how active she was on campus. As president of TWU’s chapter of the Alpha Chi Honor Society, Savannah was looking forward to the society’s conference trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico; however, the trip got cancelled. Rymer also participated in International Day, which is led by Dr. Augustin Bocco, Coordinator of International Student Services.
“One of my favorite memories is participating in International Day. I adored the opportunity to learn about other cultures, represented by fellow students, while having fun and trying delicious cuisine,” said Rymer. “I was saddened when I didn’t get to attend my final International Day in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Rymer believes that college is the only time in life where many of your friends will be at the same place at the same time. She cherished her time spent on campus with not only her friends, but her professors as well. Her advisor, Dr. Ron Gilbert, French professor Dr. Bocco, and Dr. Christopher Dover all positively impacted her experience at TWU.
“Throughout my time there, each of these professors guided me professionally and personally and challenged me to succeed. Looking back, I see specific ways in which their encouragement and drive aided my career journey,” said Rymer. “At Wesleyan everything felt so relational. I can truly say the professors I had there cared about me and still care about me.”
Although the transition was difficult, Rymer was motivated to succeed and prepare herself for life after graduation. She was both terrified and intrigued about her future; she focused a lot of her attention on creating her portfolio.
“I used that motivation and worked really hard on my portfolio, and my portfolio helped me land a lot of job interviews post grad,” stated Rymer. “I appreciated Dr. Gilbert for explaining to us how to have a good portfolio, telling us what to include in our portfolios, and how often we should update it.”
Savannah and her classmates were able to walk across the stage for graduation in August 2020. Rymer decided to take a half year off from school before she applied to grad school. While at Wesleyan, Savannah enjoyed her public relations courses, and she knew that’s the career she wanted to pursue. She is a relational person who enjoys a good conversation, and she feels that the communication field provides a way to humanize companies and organizations while building relationships. Rymer decided to apply to Georgetown, her dream school, was accepted, and now is pursuing a Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications.
Georgetown, just like many universities, was cautious entering the 2020-2021 academic year because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Rymer began her graduate courses online through both synchronous and asynchronous classes. Her first year was challenging. Rymer started classes at Georgetown only a week before starting a full-time job as a communications specialist at North Georgia Electric. Rymer was worried about the rigor and amount of schoolwork she’d receive from Georgetown, but she was patient with herself and believes that was vital for her during her first year of graduate school.
“The key for me has just been being patient with myself. I am always on the go, and although I am privileged to receive all this information, it is also terrifying. Knowing that I had such a great foundation at Wesleyan, that I was given the tools to succeed at Georgetown,” stated Rymer.
Savannah’s hard work has not gone unnoticed; she finished her first year with a 4.0 GPA. One of the biggest encouragements for Savannah is knowing that her classmates are in similar situations to hers.
“It is nice to know that I am not the only one is this boat. My classmates also work full time, and their jobs are very demanding as well,” said Rymer.
Rymer’s job as a communications specialist at North Georgia Electric is an excellent fit for her. Communication professionals can wear many hats; Savannah’s daily activities hold many different projects, including video production, social media content creation, management and analysis, advertisement design, internal messaging, and more. Savannah is one part of a team of two in the communications department at North Georgia Electric. Rymer loves how supportive her company has been for her.
“We value learning here, and as a result I am always encouraged to learn as much as I can about the world of communications. They have been wonderful and always supported me in getting my Master of Communications in Public Relations,” said Rymer.
With a little over a year left in her program before graduating, Rymer is proud of where she is and how she’s been able to manage both a full-time job, as well as pursuing a master’s degree at one of the top public relations institutions in the country.