Senior chooses to stay in the area after graduation


English major Melanie Hendershot ’13 knows there’s a great big world out there waiting for her to explore. But when it comes to finding a place to call home, she already knows where her heart lies.

One day my supervisor told me I had an old soul. I don’t quite remember why she said it or what it was supposed to mean, but I remember suddenly feeling like I was in the right place.

I cherished the title as I walked back to my cubicle in the Marketing Department at Marietta Memorial Hospital this past summer. The space for this blossoming department was small, but the ideas were big. As big as a community and just as far-reaching.

This writing internship had started with a recommendation from Hilles Hughes. I went to the Career Center expecting the traditional recommendation to get out, to flee this little town of Marietta in order to somehow find myself. I didn’t immediately sidestep the idea, but I kept close to my heart the decision I made before even coming to college: I wanted to be in this historical town, close to my family, my church, and a community of people I have come to love and respect.

“I’m really interested...” I said, “in staying in the area.”

Hilles switched tactics. Instead, we talked about local opportunities. While they were limited, she urged me to think about working with Colleen Kiser in the Marketing Department at Marietta Memorial Hospital. Marketing. It was writing, but not exactly where I saw my career going, especially considering I had never written a press release and never had any experience in PR or media writing. However, I kept my options open. I expressed my interest, interviewed, and had an internship lined up for the summer in no more than a few weeks.

The ease of the situation and the experiences I gained during my internship made me realize just how important that human connection within a community can be. The listening ears of teachers and the work ethic of other college staff that are so eager to open opportunities up for the students at Marietta suddenly mean much more to this senior who wants to work in their environment.

I now think of Marietta College as a collection of friends, colleagues, and opportunities. It’s about much more than class time. By talking with my professors outside of class and asking advisors for suggestions, I met remarkable people and potential employers in the community. I have met writers like Julie Zickefoose, who inspired my writing work ethic and philosophy. I have met company CEOs, like Scott Cantley, who helped me realize that a CEO could be down-to-earth and connected to the employees at every level of a company. I have met mentors, like Colleen Kiser, who taught me that there are those who want to foster learning and development in a new generation of writers.

I have met those who have taught and inspired, and I’m happy to say that all of these human connections and relationships center around this small but rich place I have called my home. And it is this human connection, rooted in the learning environment of Marietta College, which has branched out into this working community that I love, and there’s nowhere but up to go from here.