K-State PFA Intern Sadie Polson recently caught up with Trenton Kennedy, a May 2018 graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Political Science. Through his involvement in organizations such as Student Governing Association, Blue Key Senior Honorary, and Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, Trenton’s K-State experiences have proven essential in navigating the recent transition into his professional career.
Sadie: Describe your transition from college to career. What are you doing now? What were some of the major adjustments?
Trenton: I am currently living in Washington, D.C. where I serve as a press assistant to Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). My transition from college to career was short. Many of my friends going into the private sector have spent their time between college and career back-packing Europe or at the lake. Public service doesn’t lend well to excessive spending, so I started after spending a short two weeks in my hometown of Frankfort, Kansas. The transition has been interesting – I am slowly getting used to the hours and having two phones. I’ve spent summers in DC doing internships, so it doesn’t feel unfamiliar. However, I know when college football season rolls around and I’m not watching the Cats from Bill Snyder Family Stadium, things will feel very different.
Sadie: What’s a typical day like for you?
Trenton: I work in communications, so every day is different. My boss has a legislative portfolio that is centered around the needs and issues of Kansas, so much of my day is spent helping communicate his work on issues that almost every Kansan cares about. Much of my job also depends on the news of the day. It keeps it very interesting.
Sadie: What resources at K-State, if any, did you utilize to help with your future career?
Trenton: I couldn’t even begin to count the number of resources. From the career fair to mock-interviews, to the mentorship of professors and student life professionals. I am where I am because of K-State, so it is hard to quantify. I would say the biggest influence on me has been my time in student government where I learned to advocate for what I believed in and not be intimidated by those with experience.
Sadie: What role, if any, did your parent(s) play in your collegiate years as well as your transition to career?
Trenton: I am very close to my parents. My mom is a teacher and my dad worked on the railroad. My parents were self-made with my mom being a single mom during college and my dad never having been to college. As I got older they slowly climbed in their careers. Their fundamental advice to me was that I can always hang my hat on my work ethic. I might not be the smartest, the most talented, or the most skilled, but I would be darned if I wasn’t going to work the hardest. To this day, they are the chip on my shoulder to keep going!
Sadie: What advice do you have for current students as they finish their degrees and hope to start their careers in their given field? Any advice for parents?
Trenton: An internship in your prospective field is essential. I had four before I graduated and the networking, connections, and skills I learned are priceless. Cast a wide net – over the fall and spring of my senior year I took probably over 100 interviews. I wanted to discern my first job and be sure I was making a good decision – plus it was good practice. Dress for success – the little things matter.
Sadie: Recently moving to D.C., you must have had to make many adjustments living in such a large city. What has this been like for you and how have you been able to transition?
Trenton: One of my favorite things about home is the freedom that comes with having a car. You can always pop into your car and go anywhere, run to Target, or just drive to clear your mind. In Washington, DC I have no car, and therefore, everything is complicated. To get to Target I have to take public transportation and to get to the store I walk and carry my bags the old fashion way. I have had an “itch” to just get out and drive, so to help cure that I bought a bike which has been truly remarkable. Just this morning I got on it and rode around four or five blocks so I could feel like I was driving.
Sadie: Thank you, Trenton, for allowing us to share your story with parents and families! We wish you the best!