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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Alumna gains experience in Big Apple

Friday, October 5, 2007  
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By Kimberlee Rhodes

Whitney Pettyjohn, a 2007 graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, is working on her first big break.

Pettyjohn landed a public relations job in New York City at Manning Selvage & Lee, a global public relations firm headquartered in New York City this summer.

“I traveled to New York in June to interview for a position at another P.R. firm,” Pettyjohn said. “While I was there, MS&L contacted me and asked me to come in and interview. I guess they liked me because they had me take the writing test later that week and then offered me a job.”

The week after graduation, Pettyjohn began applying everywhere she could.

“I searched online every day for hours and applied to at least seven jobs each day for two months. It was certainly frustrating, but I trusted that God had a plan for me in New York, plus I wanted to go there so badly.”

Pettyjohn is now an account associate at Manning Selvage & Lee and says every day she is learning important essentials for future careers.

“My favorite part of my job is knowing that I’m gaining the skills needed to help me in every job I’ll have from here until I retire,” Pettyjohn said. “I’m learning so much every day, and I have several great mentors at work.”

Pettyjohn went to New York prepared for the job and is quickly picking up on things she did not already know.

“Things like the lines of communication between co-workers and managers and the process involved in drafting an e-mail to be sent to a client took me by surprise, but my mentors are teaching me what to do and what not to do, which helps a lot,” Pettyjohn said.

Along with an exciting job in New York, comes the perk of New York life, itself.

“What’s not to love?” Pettyjohn said. “This city is so full of life, young people and culture. There’s something exciting going on every day and night, and there’s always a great new art exhibit, concert or festival to check out.”

Along with its diversity and lively atmosphere, Pettyjohn finds delight in the city’s simplicity as well.

“I used to eat my lunch in Central Park every day. Now I’m so busy, I don’t usually have time to take a full lunch break. I’ve already found about seven new favorite restaurants, a new favorite coffee shop and favorite grocery store,” Pettyjohn said. “It’s fun to personalize the little things that everyone in the city shares.”

Getting used to a new atmosphere can be tough, but Pettyjohn is adapting well.

“I love New York. I fit in well here,” Pettyjohn said. “I love the fast pace, the people, the city and the atmosphere, but most of all I love the rich arts and music culture.”

Although life in New York is exciting, Pettyjohn still carries home in her heart.

“I miss my family. My sister came to visit me two weeks ago, and we had the time of our lives just being together in New York City,” Pettyjohn said. “I do miss having my family close by but I do realize I’m an adult now, so I need to get used to not having them around all the time.”

Another Oklahoma Christian student inspired Pettyjohn’s ambitious attitude. 

“Jill Ramsey came to New York for a camp and ended up nabbing an internship at Real Simple magazine,” Pettyjohn said. “She showed me that anyone can do it. It doesn’t have to be a dream.”

Landing this job is changing Pettyjohn’s life for the better, and she couldn’t be happier.

“I want so badly for everyone to do something big with their lives,” Pettyjohn said. “It just takes a little guts and a lot of faith in God. Anyone can do it.”

Pettyjohn left her family, friends and the comfort of home to do something on her own and become a person she could be proud to be. She believes that anyone can do it by simply taking a leap of faith.

“I feel like there are so many people out there with these exciting dreams, but they’re too afraid to live them out,” said. “They can be real if you let them. It’s so thrilling to see that you did something big or out of the ordinary. I am here because it’s an adventure I’m taking all on my own.”

Submitted photo

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