Perseverance Pays Off: WRTC Graduate, Kelsey Osborne (20')


Like many JMU seniors, Kelsey Osborne (WRTC ’20) left campus for spring break last year thinking she would return to spend the remaining semester finishing her classes, spending time with her friends, and then participate in her graduation ceremony on the Quad. But when JMU and colleges across the country made the hard decision to close campus due to COVID-19 and move everything, including graduation, online, all of those plans evaporated. Kelsey stayed at home with her parents, joined her classmates online to finish her classes, and logged into a website to watch her name being read as a member of the graduating class of 2020. “I had virtually no idea of what would come next,” she says.

Over the summer of 2020, Kelsey went through a previously scheduled surgery and during her recovery period began searching for jobs. “I would apply for everything I saw, but no opportunities seemed to fall in place,” Kelsey stated. “Entry-level positions are not really entry level,” she states. “Listings in the entry-level section of job websites go on to ask for years of experience. Finding paid experience seemed impossible to me.”

Knowing that she had honed her writing skills throughout her time in WRTC, she decided to apply to multiple unpaid internships in order to build her resume and add to her portfolio of work.  “[I wanted to] exemplify my ability to handle multiple projects at a given time. I wanted to get as much experience as possible in a short amount of time to bring me closer to a paid position.”

Kelsey’s resiliency and perseverance then began to pay off. First, she was hired for a copywriting internship where she was able to write for clients and, occasionally, the company’s publication. Then she applied for a position as a blog writer. Although the position had already been filled, they hired her to write social media content instead.

“Though social media is not my passion, I took the opportunity as a learning experience and hoped I could move into a blogger position from there. It actually did happen. When other bloggers were unable to write, I was given the opportunity. We also began ‘guest blogging’ for other businesses and I was tasked with that. My first guest blog was for a project management software company called Nifty.”

To Kelsey’s surprise, the business contact at Nifty emailed her, saying that he liked her writing, and asked if they could hire her to write for them. They scheduled a Zoom meeting to establish the rate she would be paid, and Kelsey moved into a part-time, paid position. “I am pleasantly surprised by the positive effect of networking and I’m eager to continue working my way up to a full-time position.”

Although graduating and searching for jobs at the height of a global pandemic has certainly posed problems, Kelsey has found doors opening to her in areas she may never have dreamed of if she had graduated in “normal” times. She recently found an opportunity to volunteer as a sailing instructor in Hawaii in exchange for housing. “I will now be spending May and June 2021 exploring and teaching in Hawaii, an opportunity I probably wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for the tumultuous year it has been,” she says. Working virtually means that she will be able to continue working for Nifty while also living in Hawaii.

“Though this past year has been absolutely nothing I expected,” Kelsey states, “I am in awe of the opportunity that I have been given. Having a full-time job, an apartment, and a new city with new friends are the usual post-grad experience, but this year has been anything but usual. I will get to grow from many experiences in the next few months and I’m sure that will guide me to where I’m meant to be.”

Read some of the published articles by Kelsey Osborne:

Dec. 18, 2020
Mentor Course Review: An Online Platform for Navigating Social Media Influencer Courses
New Theory Magazine

Feb. 22, 2021
How Mentorship Programs Can Help Your Workplace and Increase Your Company’s Productivity

Feb. 22, 2021
A New Beginning Whenever You Want

Feb. 24, 2021
Women of Perseverance

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Published: Friday, March 19, 2021

Last Updated: Friday, March 19, 2021

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