Listing out the accomplishments from just the last two years of graduating senior Jenny Bailey is no easy feat. A senior from Mount Pleasant with a double major in hospitality and tourism management and business administration, Jenny not only is successful in her academics but she formerly was on three executive boards while holding a job on campus for the past three years. I was lucky enough to sit down with Jenny to discuss everything from her past to her future to the advice she has for current and incoming students.
CC: Can you list out every single exec position you’ve ever had?
JB: Starting with Junior year I was the Special Events Coordinator for Charleston 40, I was also the Retreats and Social chair for Student Alumni Associates, and then spring of Junior when Sigma Kappa came to campus I was the first Vice President of Alumna Relations. And then Senior year I was still VP Alumna Relations for Sigma Kappa in the fall, I was membership corindator for C40, and I was President of Student Alumni Associates which also caused me to serve as a member of the College’s Alumni board.
CC: Now that you’re almost an alumni, did you learn any lessons from your position, since you worked so much with alumni relations in your positions?
JB: Yeah, I think definitely a great way is to utilse them as a resource into contacting people you need help with. So when SAA started the Swipe Away student hunger movement this year we really utilised some of the alumni board members and alumni affairs personnel. To basically help us reach out to the campus but to the overall list serve of the CofC alumni which dates back to like the class of 1949, just types of people that we would have no chance of reaching out to. It was really cool to get to work with those kinda of people. Looking at it from a collegite side of things, defintely realizing that everyone brings something different to the table. When you are in a leadership position you have have to make those tough calls that you know aren’t gonna please everyone but that as long as you have a great executive group that you’re gonna have a great group of people that will will make your life easier and will support the decisions you have to make sometimes.
CC: So, how do you relax when you aren’t doing everything?
JB: Uhm Netflix for sure. Honestly a big thing I’ve started doing is relaxing with the people I’m around the most. When you are on the executive board there’s always a distance between you and the genral body. So getting to hang out with the genral body of the organization, who are also your friends. You can kinda talk about SAA, C40, or Sigma Kappa stuff with them but there’s also other general interests and that bonds the organizations better. My friends and I will go to the beach, like we’ve done a few beach trips to Fripp Island, Second Sunday for brunch, or the Farmers market. Just apprecaiting what Charleston has to offer, and even doing late night walks down to the Pineapple Fountain and getting like a glazed dounut. I also started this thing this past semester, where I make myself have a date with myself. So like taking a walk down the beach, or giving myself an hour to read a book. I like force myself to do things like that, especially on the weekends when I can overbook myself then. Just actually giving myself time with myself so I can detox for a bit.
CC: What advice do you have for incoming Freshmen?
JB: It’s what everyone tells them but get involved. Don’t just put your name down for everything because you’re going to overload yourself and not feel connecting to anything. Take the time to do the research and go to the information sessions and talk to the people at tables about their organization. I’m terrible at directions, like I got lost my first day on the campus and now I’m the person who was in charge of giving everyone directions on where to take the tours. I was never a person who you’d think, “Oh she can direct people.” I was like my personality fit and that’s what happened. There are gonna be groups you don’t know exist that are gonna maybe fit better for you. So do some digging and reach out, be determined to find exactly what you’re looking for. You’re gonna wanna find a group that has people similar to you because those are gonna be the people you build those last connections and friendships with. It won’t be just a casual, hey how’s it going from like your Freshman year English class.
CC: Do you ever regret taking on as much responsibility that you did?
JB: There have been time where everything of course happened at once. Like there’s one week or one weekend where I’m sitting there like okay, why did I do this to myself? But it’s after everything’s happened and the dust has settled that you see and realize this is why I do it. To see how happy everyone is or how excited everyone is just to have participated and to be apart of the group and that’s what makes it 10 times better. I’ve always been someone, my dad was a Captain in the Navy and my mom was in charge of everything at my school, so I’ve always been a part of a family to want to be in a leadership position. So whenever I join a group or organization, the first thing I do is think about what can I do to help or to be on exec the next year. That was a big thing I’d known since Freshman year of College that I’d wanted to be President of SAA and membership coordinator for C40. So I loaded up on courses before my senior year. I knew what I wanted and I made sure I didn’t put myself up for failure in order to get that.
CC: Could you narrow down your Top Five experiences in College?
- This past year getting to plan recruitment both fall and spring for C40, I’ve been on recruitment teams for the past three years, so actually getting to organize it and plan it and then meet all the members. I brought in 36 new memebers for the organization this year. So getting to work with them and see them grow as individuals was a huge thing.
Starting a sorority was crazy. I never thought I would be a sorority woman. It was one of those things where I thought it was an amazing oppourtunity, both of my roommates dragged me to one of the events. I went and absolutely fell in love with Sigma Kappa and the possibilities of it. It was just one of those things where I knew the campus really well and I knew the people and I thought this would be a really great way to give back to it. And to give back to a group of women I didn’t even know yet and potentionaly join the execuative board to help build that base and stepping stone to establish the chapter’s future.
With SAA being president. It was crazy, we basically trippled our size from 25 to almost 70 memebers. It was incredibly insane and amazing to work with my execuative board who had been my friends since freshman year. It was fun to see all of us together. Through the presidency, I got to be on the college’s alumni board, which was a huge honor to serve with all the incredible people that are still present in the Charleston area.
I got a mentor through SAA, he’s someone whose put me in contact with different people in HR and town acquisations. It really helped me build connections for Graduate School and put me in contact with people.
- My advisor, Dr. Litvin with the Hospitality Department, I’ve worked with him since I was a Sophomore. He’s defintely put up with me at times. There have been times when he’s been like do this and this and I’ve been like no I’m doing it my way. He was always extremely supportive with what I was doing and what all I was apart of. He always gave me advice with careers and potentional internships. He’s been a major mentor and role model I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t a Hospitality Major.
CC: Tell us about your Graduate Program!
JB: Yes, so next year in the fall I’ll be in Hong Kong for Graduate school. It’s so weird to say it out loud! It’s a one year Masters program, so I’ll be getting my Masters in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior. I’ll be there for Fall and Spring semester, so that part won’t be too weird and new but the culture will be. I’ve never been to Hong Kong, never been to Asia. I’ve heard amazing things about it, I’ve heard only good feedback from people who have been there. Luckily there are some other CofC students going there too, so I’ll know some people there. I’m looking forward to getting into the International side of things. When people are looking for new positions, I want to be the person they contact to reach out to other young professionals that would fit for the job. It’s more looking at the company and what they need in their enviornment as a company.
CC: What was it like giving your last tour?
JB: It was bittersweet, my parents and my aunt both came on my tour. They had heard me talk about it for four years and had never seen mein action so they were all very excited to see it. It was a great day, not too hot. It was one of those things standing in the Cistern and talking about the graduation traditions I got a little choked up realizing that’s me soon. It was one of those things that I didn’t really think about until I got back to my house that I’m never gonna put on that polo again. Which as nerdy as it sounds was a real oh my god what I do now? It’s one of those groups that I think if I hadn’t joined freshman year I wouldn’t be who I was today.
CC: What are gonna miss the most about CofC?
JB: I think having everyone around. It’s nice to hang out inbetween classes or if you’re alone for the night just texting someone to see if they want to hang out. Just the constant communication with people and being able to see my friends. It’s gonna be weird that all my other senior friends and I will have to coordinate our holidays to see each other.
All images courtesy of Jenny Bailey