Graduating senior, Lexi Thibodeaux (Communication Studies major)
Asking Lexi about her Departmental Honors project, her reflection on Augsburg, and her life moving forward.
For your departmental honors project, what did you decide to do and why?
“So I did a project on diversity within public relations. Yeah, like short backstory, basically, there was a program that one of my professors sent to me and I was part of the program. And we kind of just talked about different things with NPR. And it was like on Zoom. And then pretty much every time we met, they’d always be like, ‘this is so important. We really need you guys. We need diversity,’ blah, blah, blah, blah. But no one really talked about the backside of why it was important. So that’s why I wanted to do that project, kind of to discover why it was so important and why people kept saying that to me.”
What advice would you give to someone who wants to complete a departmental honors project?
Lexi’s 3 Pieces of Advice for Departmental Honors Projects:
- “I would say, make the timeline. Because I think especially for me, at least, when I was doing qualitative stuff, it felt like I had more time than I actually did. And I was like, ‘that’s not gonna be that bad. I just have to interview people, or I’d have to read through interviews,’ and that stuff. And I think it’s always better to have more time than less. So make a timeline, whether that’s by yourself or with your professor.”
- “I would say that it’s okay to change something as you go. So if you start off with one goal, and then you do interviews, and you’re actually like ‘Wow, this thing that people are talking about, I actually want to shift my focus to this,’ because I think it’s better to work on something that you actually care about, and that you’re passionate about. Rather than stick with something that you might have thought about in the beginning of the semester, just because you don’t feel like you can change it. Because I think that’ll show through, like if you don’t actually care about what you’re talking about.”
- “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I think for me, at least, I always felt like if I needed help with something, I needed to reach out to whatever professors classes were for. So like, if I was working on something for Kristen, I feel like I need to ask her. But the rest of the department is there to help you. They want to see you succeed. Nobody, there’s gonna be like, ‘What a stupid question. Why did you come here?’ So don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether that’s from other students or your professor, your advisor or outside sources.”
What is the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned getting through all of this?
“Continue to be open to learning. And don’t feel like you know it all. I think there were a lot of times I just like..I don’t feel like I walked around like a know–it–all, but I think mentally there were a lot of things where I was like, ‘I know this already, I know how to do this already. I don’t need your help, blah, blah, blah.’ But like, there’s always something that you can learn. And I think if you walk in with an attitude of like, ‘you know, everything you’re supposed to know that,’ you’re not gonna learn anything. But I think if you take the time to take a step back and understand that you don’t know everything, there’s gonna be some things you do know and some you don’t know and be okay with that.”
What kind of stuff are you going to be doing after graduation now?
“I’m going to take the longest nap I’ve ever had! But seriously, I do have a job lined up. So I’m going to be working in the marketing communications department at Medtronic. I am how I describe myself to people as I’m a creative communicator. So like, I love to sing, I write music. I love to draw, I love podcasts. But I also like, for right now I have opportunities in the corporate world that I’m cool with. So I think the end goal is like, I would love to be able to do all of those things. My end goal would be to be able to do music full time. And then I want to get to a place where I run my own label where I train up other kids in the music industry. I think all of the things that I’m learning in school come into play with that, because all that’s communicating. It’s just kind of like, ‘Am I doing it face to face? Am I doing it through song? Am I doing it digitally?’ So that is the end goal. But immediately, I will be working at Medtronic and continuing to make stuff whether that’s musically or digitally.”
How do you plan to balance your corporate job and your creative passions and goals? How have you been balancing being a student and employee while pursuing these goals?
“Everything is figure-out-able”
“One thing that my mom always said to me growing up was that everything is figure–out–able. So you don’t have to just like know, you can figure stuff out. So if you want to be a traveling dancer while you’re learning German and learning to cook like you can do it you just have to time manage, you know what I’m saying? So I think like I think for me, I had to understand that one just because I have a talent. That doesn’t mean I don’t have to work at it. If anything, I have to work harder. And that was kind of a hard pill to swallow.”
“Okay, I have this job, but this is the passion that I have. How am I going to set up my time to do that? So maybe that means like, I’m not gonna go to the gym at night, I’m gonna go in the morning, maybe that means I only hang out with friends Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I’m writing Monday and Thursday. So, I think being okay with putting in some work beyond what’s expected of you.”
“It’s not an all or nothing thing”
“So I think, traditionally, there was like a big joke of like, being a starving artist, because it’s like, ‘it’s my art or nothing.’ You can work from eight to four, and then like, take a break, and then work on your craft from like, six to eight. I don’t think it has to be such an all or nothing thing. So- shifting focus and priority.”
“Knowing how to shift focus.”
“I’m not a big fan of living in a cardboard box. Just because I want to be a singer doesn’t mean I want to be a starving artist. I enjoy Nikes, I like sushi. I would like to have money. And so I think, if an opportunity is like the job at Medtronic- something that I got through an internship at Augsburg- yeah, it’s not something I necessarily imagined doing. But I like it, and it’s not soul sucking, so that was really important for me. But then also, I was like, ‘okay, just because I’m doing this, this doesn’t mean this is the rest of my life. I use that if it’s like, I want to buy new podcast equipment, use the money that I make for work,’ you know what I’m saying? Yeah, you pick what you want to do.”