Alumni Spotlight: Katelynn Groh

Alumni Spotlight

We’ve asked some of our Winging It alumni to let us know what they’re up to these days. Here, recent graduate Katelynn Groh ’16 shares her job-search journey thus far and the helpful perspective she’s gained. Watch for more of these features in the coming weeks.

Katelynn Groh, alumnus—My first blog post as a Brockport alumna! How fun! 🙂 I figured I’d give you all an update about what has been going on since I graduated a month and a half ago! (It’s already been a month and a half!?!!)

Some of you may have known through previous posts that I was interning at the American Red Cross of Greater Rochester as a capstone project required to graduate. During my last few weeks there, I was talking with my bosses about job searching and they informed me of a position opening in Syracuse…the position I was interning for! How perfect!

Two weeks before graduation, I had a phone interview, and a couple days later I was emailed, stating that they wanted to meet with me in person in two weeks, which ended up being the Tuesday after graduation. Very excited, I went out and bought a new interview outfit and soon was on my way to Syracuse. The interview itself was great; it was only supposed to last an hour, but mine went for two hours because the Disasters Program Manager (DPM) and I had a lot in common and just kept chatting away! I took that as a good sign! 😉

I left Syracuse with high hopes and was feeling pretty good about myself because the DPM told me 38 people had applied and it was down to 4! I made it into the top 4!!! A few days later I received another email from HR…they wanted to do a second interview, it was down to me and one other person. This time they held the interview in Buffalo so that I wouldn’t have to drive three hours to Syracuse again. (Side note: Google what the American Red Cross building looks like in Buffalo…it’s literally a mansion. I felt like a princess walking in there.) So I headed into my second interview prepped and ready for go time, with brand new updated portfolios for each of the interviewers, and mine had sticky notes and tabs of everything I needed to know about the ARC and what I wanted to highlight about myself.

Again, I thought the interview went pretty well! But during my interview in Syracuse and the one in Buffalo, I was told that the same position was open in Buffalo. And while I had my heart set on Syracuse, I knew financially it would be better for me to stay in Buffalo. But I would deal with that as it happened. Well, the Friday after my second interview, the DPM of Syracuse called me: “Hi Katelynn, I’ve got some sad news…”

It hurt a little bit — who am I kidding, it hurt a lot actually. I had prepared so much for both interviews and just felt defeated. I don’t really remember the rest of the phone call because I was trying not to cry, LOL! Thankfully my boyfriend David was in town when I got the phone call, so he was able to comfort me and make me feel better. He kept saying that it was incredible I had made it to the top 2 of a big-girl job interview just 2 weeks after graduating, and he was right. However, in my mind it just kept translating to, “you were just shy of being good enough.” What made it hurt so much was that everyone told me I had the position, that they’d be silly not to hire me. So I got my hopes up. But after some retail therapy and a day of sulking, I was back on my feet and ready to interview for the Buffalo position!

My interview for Buffalo lasted all of 45 minutes, where the DPM there asked me 3 questions and spent most of the time talking to me about the job description. When I got home and told my family what happened, all of their responses were that Buffalo was trying to sell ME on the job and that they’d be shocked if I didn’t get this one after everything I went through with Syracuse.

Almost two weeks later, still with no response, I decided to call Buffalo and see what was going on with the interview process. The DPM said that HR should be contacting us soon and that all she could tell me was that they selected a candidate. Immediately I took that as, “We didn’t select you.” Again, David was in town (how did that always work out?) and comforted me because he knew how much I wanted, and needed, this job. My mom on the other hand wasn’t so convinced it meant I didn’t get the job — but the rejection email came 2 hours later and it was final. I didn’t get the job in Buffalo either.

My heart was broken for the second time in a month. I was really gunning for these jobs because of the wonderful atmosphere the American Red Cross has. You’re working alongside volunteers who want to help others out of the goodness of their hearts so why WOULDN’T you want to work for them!? It was a dream of mine since I began interning in Rochester last September, and still remains to be a dream of mine. I would LOVE to work for the American Red Cross. I’ve decided that that would be my dream job.

However, out of all of this, I have gained A LOT of interviewing experience, which can only help me down the road. My only obstacle now is that companies want 5 years of experience for most positions, and after being in college for the past 4 years, I don’t have that. And if a company doesn’t give me a chance, how am I ever going to gain those years of experience? It’s a catch-22.

Shortly before graduation, a Democrat and Chronicle reporter was on campus to gather information about the job search process for new graduates, and I talked with him about the catch-22 of finding a job. He said, “Ya know, for the situation you’re in, you’re very positive about it all! Why is that?” I told him that it’s because everyone else is going through the same thing, ya know? I WILL find a job, it’s just a matter of when. Everything works out like it’s supposed to, and I just have to trust my struggle. Right now I’m nannying for my cousin and his wife; they have an adorable 6-month baby girl, and she just lights up any room. My cousin gave me some really great advice. He said that I just wasn’t needed in Buffalo, that somewhere else they need me and my skills, personality, etc. more and that it’ll all be okay. I’m not going to lie, my self-confidence took a bit of a beating after Syracuse and Buffalo, but I know I’ll be okay and that I’ll find a job somewhere doing something. It may not be my career job or dream job right away, but I’ll get there.

I’m beginning to realize that NY isn’t the best place to find a job in emergency management. I might need to relocate, so I’ve begun applying for jobs in places like Washington, DC and California. I haven’t heard back from any of the positions yet, but hopefully I hear something soon! Until then, I’m just going to keep applying and enjoying this time I have with my family and David when we get to see each other! I mean, the fact that my biggest struggle today was deciding on if I want to read Me Before You or Game of Thrones….? Things could be worse, friends! LOL! Hopefully next time I give an “alumni update,” I’ll have better news for y’all! Until next time…. xo Katelynn

UPDATE 7/31/16: 

So the stars must be in alignment for me lately because within 3 weeks I have been offered and accepted a job position for the Erie County Department of Health and as of last night I have been accepted to my #1 online graduate school…Millersville University! This is all very exciting and I cannot wait to start this new chapter of my life!

I can tell I’m getting old because I’m excited for my own health insurance, to shop for desk accessories (planners and stickers too!) and just being able to afford life in general! 😀 As for school, since I’m starting my new job in a couple weeks I may defer enrollment until January just so that I’m not overwhelmed with classwork and learning the ropes at my new job! Hopefully it doesn’t mess up my acceptance; if it does I will just have to power through it!

See, everyone! TRUST YOUR STRUGGLE. I knew I’d get to this point someday, I just had to sit back and let things unfold as they should. Be patient. Have courage. And, be kind. <3

Published by Valerie Dimino

I have a lot of words to get out.

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