By Andrea Honaker
In April, I stepped outside my comfort zone and agreed to be the interviewee rather than the interviewer for a change. From my home in Macon, Georgia, I was interviewed via Zoom for an episode of “Undeclared,” a higher education podcast hosted by Allison Lanier and Scott Fogleman. The 30-minute episode was published online Sept. 16 and can be found at https://www.upandup.agency/podcast/andrea-honaker.
If you decide to give it a listen, a million thanks for wanting to learn more about me and what I do! I think everyone hates the sound of their own voice, and I cringed a bit as I listened to myself and came to the realization that I say “and things like that” a lot in conversation. However, all in all, I was proud of myself for tackling this project, and it was a good reminder of why it’s important to take on new challenges and also give myself props for the work I’m doing.
I hold a journalism degree from West Virginia University and spent the first dozen years of my career in the newspaper industry, working jobs as a copy editor/page designer, lifestyles reporter and education reporter. But by 2018, I was ready for a change and transitioned to the world of higher ed when I accepted a position as a digital content specialist for Mercer University. My primary duties revolve around coordinating posts for the university’s main social media accounts and writing feature stories. It’s been a wonderful change, and I can honestly say that I love my job and enjoy the work I’m doing.
Writing has always been my strong suit … public speaking, not so much. Written words are what I’m good at, but expressing myself in verbal conversation doesn’t always come easy. I am comfortable asking the questions as the interviewer, but being on the other side is not something I’ve had much experience with. In the past, any speaking engagement has required me to do quite a bit of practice and preparation to get past my doubt and apprehension.
So, when I got the email asking me to be a guest on “Undeclared,” my immediate reaction was to say no. But after further thought, I decided I wasn’t going to let my nerves get in the way of a great opportunity. Allison and Scott were wonderful hosts in every way. They agreed to send me their questions in advance so I could think about my answers, and during the interview, they made me feel so at ease and comfortable. It was like having a casual conversation with longtime friends. They also allowed me to review the episode before it was published to make sure I was happy with it.
I was so pleased with the final edited version of the podcast, and I am grateful to have been a guest on a show that has featured so many skilled higher education experts. One thing that struck me as I listened was that my job is more detailed and complex than I give myself credit for. I think, in general, people often downplay the work they’re doing every day. Own up to all of the knowledge, expertise and dedication that you bring to your job, and take a moment to pat yourself on the back every now and then. To all my friends in higher education marketing, keep up the great work and don’t ever forget how important and vital your role is.
About the Author: Andrea Honaker holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University and spent the first dozen years of her career in the newspaper industry, where she took on roles as a copy editor/page designer, lifestyles reporter and education reporter. In 2018, she transitioned to work in higher education by becoming a digital content specialist in the Marketing Communications department at Mercer University. Her primary duties are managing content for the university’s main social media platforms and writing feature stories for the university’s news sites.