Q&A with 2013 graduate Elicia Mailhiot

Q. What have you been doing since you graduated from CSC?

A. Since graduating, my main focus has been trying to find a full-time job in the communications field, especially in journalism. I’ve worked at two newspapers since graduating, which has helped me gain an understanding of how a newspaper works in its entirety, from editorial to advertising. I always have my eye open for jobs that would allow me to use the skills I learned at Castleton and to not only use them, but to develop them as well.

Q. Have you been able to find a job that tie in with your major?

A. I’m still on the prowl for that full-time journalism gig. I got a call from the Rutland Herald, who I’ve been freelancing with regularly for the past year or so, to come in for an interview for their education beat. I interviewed last summer to cover Castleton/West Rutland, but they decided to hire someone who had been there for 13 years and was looking for a change, so I completely respected that decision and understood where they were coming from. It’s been a couple weeks and I haven’t heard anything about the new position, but there’s still hope! Plus, it’s always good when editors are calling you asking if you want to come in for an interview. In the meantime, I took a job back in December with the town of Killington as their events and marketing assistant. I’m involved in several aspects of the special event process, from seeking lodging partnerships to day-of assistance. I also work on their website and am in charge of their social media campaigns. That job actually led me to a gig at the Killington Chamber of Commerce too, where I’m the Communications Assistant. There, I write their weekly newsletter, manage their social media campaigns, and write press releases. And I’m still at the newspaper in Middlebury writing too, so my schedule’s pretty crazy lately!

Q.  Why did you want to go to CSC?

A. I didn’t want to go to Castleton! I remember the admissions counselor telling me I was accepted in my on-the-spot interview and going out in the halls, sarcastically bragging how I had gotten into Castleton. I got accepted into some really good schools, like UMass Amherst and IONA, but my first choice was UVM. I applied early action and didn’t get in. I thought ‘what the hell?’ I was an A/B student all throughout high school, participated in extra-curricular activities, and was a born and raised here. How could they not accept me? So I decided to go to Castleton.

Q. Do you think there will be room for journalism in our society in the future and what direction will it take?

A. I think there will always be room for journalism. Everyone says that print is going to go away sometime, and it probably will. But, there will always be a need for news. Whether you get it online or physically in your hands, someone has to write those stories.

Q.  Tell me something interesting in your life right now?

A. Something interesting in my life…hmm. I’m going to be an aunt, which is consuming my thoughts right now because I’m just so excited. My sister is my best friend, so I’m overjoyed to welcome a new member to our duo.

Q. Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?

A. I’ve had a life plan for so long. I planned to find a good paying job right out of college and to be debt free in five years and move to New York City. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you can’t plan life. You can have goals and things that you want to see happen, but things are always changing. My plan for the next 10 years is to not have a plan, but I would hope to be out of reporting by then and move into an editor role, or be running my own magazine, which is an idea I’ve bounced around for a couple years now.

Q. What do you miss most about Castleton?

A. I miss so much about Castleton. I didn’t want to be there at first and made it known, but then I really got to know the girls I was living with and they are my best friends. One of the toughest transitions coming out of school is not seeing them everyday. Most of us live in Vermont, but there are a few in Utah and Canada, so we haven’t seen each other since graduation. Everybody thinks Castleton’s motto, “The small school with the big heart,” is cheesy, but it’s true in many ways. Ask someone who goes to UVM or UMASS if their college president knows them by name. Chances are, probably not.

Q. If you had to do it all over again would you? And would you have chosen the same major?

A. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I couldn’t see me going to school for anything other than communication, especially concentrating in journalism. And I couldn’t imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life. That’s a result of the people I met at Castleton. Anyone that really knows me knows how much I look up to Dave. He’s shaped me beyond words, not only as a writer, but a person. He’s the type of guy you want to know, not only because he’s got a great sense of humor and is personable, but he really cares about his students. If you give him 100 percent, he’ll give it back to you and make you the best you can be. He was always there to give me words of encouragement and to gently kick my ass if I wasn’t doing as well as he knew I could. I don’t think I would love journalism as much as I do if it wasn’t for him, and I don’t think I would be as confident. I remember getting the e-mail when he told me I was a contender to be editor of the Spartan. I was like “What? Me? No!” but he believed in me. It’s funny because I went to his book presentation and he was talking about how influential his journalism teacher had been on him … how much he looked up to him and respected him. It resonated because Dave is that person for me. Even though I’ve graduated, he’s still so supportive and I can’t thank him enough for all he’s done over the years. There are so many other communication teachers that shaped my experience and made me feel like this is where I need to be. Sanjukta was hard, but she really opened my eyes to the world, and while we didn’t always agree on things, she taught me how to argue my point in a constructive, educated way. She left for India during finals week last year and I cried when we said goodbye because it was the last time I would see her before I was done school. Not many other people can say that and it’s just a testament to how much I care about these people and how much they care in return. I didn’t take a class with Conroy until my last semester, but I wish I would have. He’s so engaging and I’ve had some great conversations with him. You’re not just another student to the teachers in the basement of Leavenworth. If it wasn’t for them, my experience would have been extremely different, I think. But, because of the five of them, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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