Time Travel at Cal Poly -Journalism 285

Don't they look thrilled they got to meet me? Yep, that's what I thought, too.

Too bad I couldn’t travel back in time to visit my twenty-one year old self. I’d tell her everything would all be okay. And I wouldn’t mean that phrase in a way that really says, “Your life is a complete mess right now, but I don’t know what else to say.” I’d mean it because it’s true. Everything is okay.

I got to prove this to myself when I visited my friend Dave Schermer’s Journalism 285 class at Cal Poly. I talked about my job with his class and it blew my mind. The job I have today as Chief Mom Connector of Mom Central is perfect for me and I love it. If my younger-self had known this was waiting for me twenty years after I finished college, I would have been  ecstatic.

When I sat in those chairs as a student, Social Media didn’t exist; neither did blogs, twitter, facebook, laptop computers, smart phones, or anything involving what I get paid to use every day. Talking with the class made me realize how much the world, and my own life, has changed since I attended Cal Poly.

As a quarter-long project, each student created a blog and writes posts based on certain assignments. Before I went in to the class I read each blog to get to know who I’d be talking with -and I loved seeing what they had to say. One blog had gorgeous photography, one posted about SLOtheStigma.org -an orgization I feel a personal connection with, another blogged about the homeless in SLO, and a student’s blog about her passion for travel made me wish I had more stamps in my passport. The students put their personal touch on their blogs and I felt a connection to each one of them.

The class paid attention (thank you), sometimes a few zoned out (that’s okay -I remember what it was like), and many asked questions (right on!). I got off topic, back on topic, got totally pitted (what the heck was that about?), and managed to say something that got quoted back to me in a tweet later in the day. (That feels pretty great, I have to admit.)

After class I continued the conversation with three students and I loved this extra time with them. I realized there was so much more I hadn’t told them; I remembered things I forgot to share.

"Graphic Communication". Yep. That's my old department.

I had to muddle through my twenties without a visit from future-me, but this week I got to travel back to a part of my past and see what I might have looked like sitting there in a classroom at Cal Poly. I got to talk about my job and how cool it is to work in Social Media. I saw those desks from the front of the classroom and it was amazing to look back on my journey of how I ended up there. Or here. You know what I mean.

Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. Schermer and the students of Journalism 285. I loved talking with you and sharing about my career. Keep up the good work and learn as much from Mr. Schermer as you can. He is an excellent resource and teacher.

I’m not sure I made this point to all of you: It’s all going to be okay. I’m sure of it.


Comments (8)

  1. Hannah C

    Eileen, thank you so much for visiting us this week! Your presentation was so fun and refreshing, I really appreciated it!

    1. Eileen (Post author)

      Thanks, Hannah -I really enjoyed getting to know you a little better after class and hearing about your other blog was very interesting. I hope you keep up with your efforts with the Happiness Project -I think what you’re doing is terrific!

  2. aimee

    thank you SO much for coming to speak to our class. i really, truly enjoyed it.

    and thank you for taking the time to look at our blogs before you came to speak…when you said that to us in class, i was really impressed.

    i think you are perfect for what you do, personality and all! hopefully our paths will cross again!

    PS – i’m sorry if i was one of the ones who looked like they were zoning out. i really wasn’t…it’s just the 8AM. thanks for being understanding :)

    aimee bradshaw

    1. Eileen (Post author)

      I love that you took the time to comment here, Aimee, and I enjoyed talking with you after class, too. I had such a great time with all of you and I’m happy to hear you had fun like I did.
      Of course I looked at your blogs! It’s the least I could do -and I love to get to know people before I meet them in person -it helps me feel connected -and that’s what I’m paid to do, after all. ;)
      Thanks for the compliment about my job -I still pinch myself that this fell into my lap. It really is terrific and I loved sharing what I’ve learned with all of you.
      And no worries about zoning out! (I don’t remember you being one of the ones who tuned me out, anyway.) Like I said, I remember -and I’m not a highly functioning human when I have to be up and out by 8:00, either. (Just ask my kids!)
      I hope our paths cross again sometime, too, and thanks again for your comment and fun time in your class.

  3. BusyDad

    What a great experience. It totally throws me off to think that all the everyday items we take for granted (even EMAIL!) didn’t really exist in any ubiquitous fashion when we were in college. My future self would have just stood there dumbfounded and said “go into the quad and tell as many people who will listen what you had for lunch. That’s the future, kids. Right there.”

    1. Eileen (Post author)

      Oh. My. Heck. I should have said this! As usual, you came up with the perfect thing to make them laugh and summed up everything I was talking about. Next time, I’m asking you what I should say. Or I’ll just skype you in for the lecture. And then we can talk about rotary phones. That would really blow our past-me’s minds.
      Thanks for being so supportive of my antics, Jim. You are a fabulous friend!

  4. Jen-Eighty MPH Mom

    I’ll bet your talk was inspiring (and funny :)

    I imagine it is hard for today’s students to even fathom a life without email, computers, cell phones, etc. I was just telling my daughter yesterday that when we needed to research something we had to go to the library, or read through encyclopedias (remember when everyone had a set of those big books? They seem so archaic now!).

    1. Eileen (Post author)

      It does seem so strange. I tell my kids what research was like when I was in school and they look at me like I’m growing a third eye out of my forhead! (forehead?!?) Anyway, it was a trip going back to Cal Poly. I loved it!


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