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Advice on the Go
‘Get Your Smith Together’ podcast brings alumnae wisdom—and some solace—to anxious students
When the pandemic struck early last year, many members of the class of 2020 were left wondering, What do I do now? Stacie Hagenbaugh, director of the Lazarus Center for Career Development, knew she had to do something to ease their anxiety about an uncertain future.
Perhaps, she thought, the class of 2008 would have some good advice. After all, they graduated in the midst of a devastating global recession—and survived. “It wasn’t the same, but 2008 was a very turbulent year,” says Hagenbaugh. “The world turned upside down on a dime.”
Wasting no time, Hagenbaugh organized a virtual panel of alums from the class of 2008 so they could share their hard-earned lessons for finding opportunities during turbulent times. “We wanted to give students as much reassurance as possible that it was going to be OK, that they were not alone and they had a support network around them,” Hagenbaugh says.
It worked. The event was so well received that Hagenbaugh decided to expand the concept, creating a new podcast series called Get Your Smith Together, in which alums answer questions and offer advice to current students—all in a grab-and-go format.
“Podcasts allow you to really lean in and listen.”
Hagenbaugh adds that in addition to being convenient, podcasts are a powerful communications tool. “Podcasts allow you to really lean in and listen,” she says. “I also think that the questions and topics that we’re addressing are ones that students are very worried about but are not terribly comfortable discussing in a public conversation. Being able to grab a podcast, listen to it and digest it on their own time is a plus.”
Some of the topics already covered in Get Your Smith Together episodes include how to network with alums, why failure is not all bad and what to expect in your senior year. But Hagenbaugh has a long list of other ideas she would still like to explore—from the ins and outs of the job search and strategies for negotiating a good salary to why it’s OK not to have your life totally planned out.
With two to three episodes being added each month, Get Your Smith Together is attracting a growing audience. For her part, Hagenbaugh—who also serves as interviewer—is having a lot of fun with the series. More importantly, she’s happy it is achieving its mission. She recently recommended one of the episodes to a student seeking assistance from the Lazarus Center for the first time. The student replied that she had already listened to the whole series and that it was an important resource for her because, as she put it, “I had a lot of questions and wasn’t even sure how to ask them.”
This story appears in the Spring 2021 issue of the Smith Alumnae Quarterly.