Byline : Abigail Nelson / Arts & Culture Editor
It is hard to name the activities and lifestyle habits that COVID-19 has not affected. We are all familiar with the academic adjustments that have been implemented to promote the safety and wellbeing of USM students, staff, and faculty. Last August, in preparation for a mostly remote semester, the USM Career Hub began brainstorming ideas on how to best reach and engage with the student body. “We started to think outside the box and consider ways that we could bring connections, information, and career development opportunities to students in different ways,” said Alex Carrier Hitchcox, the Employer Relationship Manager for the USM Career Hub.
This brainstorming resulted in the creation of the Hired Huskies podcast. Hosted by Hitchcox herself, Hired Huskies seeks to share the authentic career and life stories of USM Alumni with the goal of encouraging students on their journeys to find their careers and passions. Hitchcox believes that as a culture we have ingrained into young people that they need to pick a major and whatever that ends up being, is what determines the rest of their life.
“I feel like a lot of students probably go through the experience of not knowing what they want to be alone, and feel like they are the only ones that don’t have it figured out. That’s just not true,” she said. Hired Huskies aims to tell the ups and downs of alumni’s career lives. The podcast provides insight to the challenges, uncertainties, and other questions that come up in the workforce and life, while normalizing the feeling of not knowing the next step and trying new things. In future episodes, Hitchcox plans to interview alumni from all walks of life, career paths, and perspectives so students all have someone to relate to.
The Career Hub decided on an alumni podcast for a few reasons. Out of the several events they hold in an academic year, the Career Hub noticed that the ones that go the best and have a positive student response, were the ones with alumni talking to students about their professional experiences. This seemed like a great topic to bring to students, especially in a time of so many uncertainties.
They decided the best form to bring this information to the student was in a podcast. Remote learning features several Zoom classes, meetings, and events. It is easy and normal to get “zoom fatigue”, as Hitchcox called it. Instead of making another Zoom event, the Career Hub went with an option that gives students the flexibility to listen and engage wherever they are. Doing laundry? Commuting between the campuses? Listening to the Hired Huskies podcast has never been easier.
With these goals in mind, the Career Hub teamed up WMPG to dive into the hard work of creating a podcast. After conducting several interviews and spending numerous hours in the studio, editing and finalizing episodes, the first few episodes of Hired Huskies are now available on the WMPG website, Spotify, and Apple Podcast. As of right now, the podcast is scheduled to post new episodes on Wednesdays bi-weekly.
The overall goal of this podcast is to help and encourage students as they find the next step for them. The Career Hub hopes this podcast will be a fun and engaging way to make connections with alumni and other students, and learn more about the everyday struggles and triumphs that people face in the workplace. “It’s really important for students to know that when you have an idea it’s okay if you don’t have it all fully formed, it’s okay if you’re not sure, it’s okay to just run with it and trust yourself. Sometimes it’s taking a leap of faith and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. But the reward is worth it,” said Hitchcox.
To best accomplish this goal, the Career Hub is looking for student feedback and engagement. Answers to questions like, “How long is too long for a podcast?” or “How often do you want episodes?” will help the Career Hub improve the podcast and students’ listener experience. In addition, they encourage students to send in any questions they have to be featured on the podcast. Students can either record a voice memo or write questions, and submit them by email to Hitchcox’s email at [email protected]. To stay updated on the podcast, follow the USM Career Hub on Instagram @usmcareerhub.