David - Communication — 24 June 2013
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Opportunity is Everywhere…Even in a Grocery Store Checkout Line

Let’s be honest, sometimes all you need is a little bit of dumb luck. Hard work is important too, don’t get me wrong, but it’s always that little something extra that seems to make all the difference in life.

I dragged my feet into the grocery store that day. It was late afternoon and, with a full day of classes under my belt, I wasn’t exactly excited to clock in for my mediocre 4-10 shift. But my college tuition was never going to pay itself, so there I was, reluctant to start the night.

There’s almost no difference between 5 p.m. street traffic and 5 p.m. grocery store traffic. The setting might be different, but it’s still just a lot of weary people who’d rather be somewhere else, packed together in a tight space. I was working one of the cash registers when the dark-haired woman walked into my line. It had been a mind-numbing hour of ringing up frozen dinners and cereal boxes, so much so that I almost failed to notice the small Florida Tech logo on her shirt.

It was my first semester at Florida Tech and I didn’t know too many people on campus, so naturally I asked the women where she worked. She replied by telling me she was the assistant vice president of marketing for the university and asked me what my major was. Her eyebrows rose when I said, “Communication.”

“Really?” she exclaimed. “We’re always looking for writers. Here’s my card.”

And that was it. I handed her a receipt and she was gone. A coincidental introduction and some small talk in a grocery store was all it took to reel in my first professional work offer. I still remember looking down at that business card in my hand thinking, “It’s not supposed to be this easy.”

But it was. A few days later I sent the dark-haired woman I now know as Jennifer Neuhard an email, and a week after that I was sitting in the department office for an interview.

That day I dragged my feet into the grocery store was a little over a year ago. Over these last 12 or so months, I’ve worked on countless projects for Jenn and the rest of the awesome people in the Marketing Department. My portfolio went from literally nothing, to bursting with tons of published work that includes stories for two undergraduate admissions magazines and an educational poster that now hangs in high school classrooms.

I guess what I’m saying here is always keep your eyes open as a college student. In my brief experience at Florida Tech, I have seen firsthand how opportunity frequently finds small ways to creep into our lives. The only question is whether or not you’re going to grab ahold of these opportunities and run with them. I mean, that’s how I ended up writing for the Florida Today newspaper…but that story is for another time.

Good luck, everybody.





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David Barkholz

(1) Reader Comment

  1. Nice piece, David! I like the line about street traffic vs. grocery store traffic.

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