Stacey Breton is a 23 (almost 24…because it’s still cool to get older when you’re in your 20’s) year old marketing professional making the most of life in the Granite State. Forever a go-getter, Stacey took life by the horns once entering college and now holds a director position, owns a house, and drives her dream car, all before turning 24. Stacey earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in marketing with concentrations in social media and advertising from Southern New Hampshire University. When she’s not crafting up creative concepts, she enjoys spending time with her two Morgan horses, competing at the state and regional levels.
It’s amazing to look back now on the last six years of my life, often wondering where the time went. It feels like just yesterday I was walking into my first class on campus, worrying about all of the wrong, but important, things like “who will I work on projects with?” even before the professor has told you what the semester’s assignments will be. Fitting in was always at the back of my mind freshman year. I quickly learned though that to reach my goals and get to where I wanted to be, fitting in was the exact opposite of what I needed to be doing. Alright, alright…maybe it wasn’t that quick of a realization. But I had a reason for wanting to fit in; the C word.
From the start I had, or at least I thought I did, a stigma on me – I was a, dare I say it, commuter student. My parents supported my decision to attend college, but they did not, or rather, could not, support the financial aspect of my journey. So, when the time came to choose a school, I did what most 17-18 year olds leave to their parents; I chose the school that made the most financial sense. That also meant that I would be a commuter student for four years. I was determined to break that stigma though because no one wants to feel like they are at an AA meeting every time they have to introduce themselves; “My name is Stacey and I am a commuter student.”
So, I quit my off-campus job, got hired as a tour guide on campus, joined a club, and made friends in my classes. By my junior year, I was working in three offices on campus, serving as vice president of the community service club, earned acceptance into the elite Presidential Ambassador group, worked multiple internships, and so on. I did everything in my power to squash the idea that commuter students go to class and go home. Because of how much time I spent on campus, people eventually forgot that I was a commuter, often asking me what dorm I lived in or who my roommate was. By that point though, I was proud to tell people I was a commuter student, especially because I was more involved than most of my friends who actually lived on campus.
In the end, it did not matter one bit that I was a commuter student. I graduated top of my class, won multiple awards, and even became a finalist to deliver the commencement address. Plus, when it came time to search for jobs, employers were impressed by the effort I had put forth to make my experience unique.
My challenge to those just starting out is to worry less about fitting in and more about making your mark. Each of us has a story to tell and your goal should be to make yours more interesting than those around you. What club will you join? How will you volunteer your time? Which internship will you strive for? Oh, and make it a point to welcome commuters into your circle, not everyone is as pushy as me!