Home Away from Home: Quotes in the Capitol
By: Barbara Lopaciuk
Quotes Director of Recruitment
It is 7:15 a.m. on a Monday morning and a group of seven Nicholson School students and myself are on our way to Tallahassee. We spent the four-hour commute listening to music and discussing our excitement. Our group arrives at noon and Quotes faculty advisor Lindsay Hudock greets us. We gather and revise our itinerary for the day. Finally, we have begun this amazing three-day adventure.
Our group begins the day by touring Zimmerman Agency, followed by a tour at BowStern. Each tour was comprised of insightful information, from overarching communication strategies to company rituals. This was my chance to gain knowledge about what these companies search for in a potential employee. More importantly, some tactics that are utilized, in order to set their companies apart from competing firms.
Tuesday is here. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this my entire life. Today is the day that my interest within Public Affairs will be validated. We begin our morning at Sachs Media Group. We are presented information from a few team members in regards to past and current campaigns, as well as further insight how Sachs Media Group plays a role during legislative session. After, we meet the City of Tallahassee communication team. Over lunch, each team member showcased a project they created. I am in awe. These projects have been especially prepared for us, the UCF group. We are lucky individuals!
After lunch, my excitement picks up a second wind. I am walking on a cobblestone road headed to the Capitol. I snap a quick “selfie” with the building in the background and here comes the butterflies. I clear security and wait for the elevator to arrive with my chin held high, and my shoulders back. We enter a conference room where the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce gives us a warm welcome. Legislators enter and leave as they can, giving our group the opportunity to ask prompting questions about bills that will be proposed to the floor. The Tuesday excursion doesn’t stop here. We are led to the Florida Senate. I am astonished. We enter the doors and my eyes begin to water. A feeling of relief overcomes me. This is where I belong; I know it. Senator Andy Gardiner enters the floor and I can’t believe I am witnessing such an interesting public figure speak with such a mellow yet powerful voice.
Wednesday has arrived and I am grateful, but it is bittersweet. I don’t want to leave Tallahassee. I want to begin my life here now. Just when I thought this voyage was over, a new opportunity has been presented. I can’t believe it; I am going to tour the Supreme Court. Me: a young college student.
When leaving Tallahassee, I am sitting in the front seat of the car, gazing out the window. I am smiling, ear-to-ear. Tallahassee is where I want to begin my career in Public Affairs. I know I have a long road ahead and there may be various halts in the path, but traffic clears. I will crush those obstacles and graduate from the University of Central Florida to begin my professional life surrounded by influential people, in a powerful city. Until 2016 Tallahassee, you were a sweet treat.