From Astronomy 101 to Chemistry IRL

Alexa McDaniel – Account Executive


The main difference between college and agency life is the incredible relevance of what you spend your days doing. For example, my main stressor in the last year of college was a class called “Introduction to Astronomy.” Its name was entirely deceiving as there was absolutely nothing introductory about it. As my last, “fun” prerequisite I had to take before graduation, I thought it would be intriguing, if not a bit more indulgent.


Well, I was wrong. I found myself sardined into a classroom, wedged between sweaty college students. The classroom itself was as steamy as a Bikram yoga studio on a scorching summer day. The teacher considered himself a tropical man and subjected everyone else to his climate particularities.


I spent the last year a nervous wreck! Instead of studying stars, I was doing calculations on the thermal electromagnetic radiation within or surrounding a body in thermodynamic equilibrium with its environment. Huh?


My major was technology communications. The industry I wanted to break into had taken a back seat for a class I had originally prepared to think of more as a hobby than an obstacle.


What did I learn from that class? Besides Planck’s Law, you mean. I realized that sometimes you get stretched. I realized that sometimes you have to pivot in your expectations. That is life. That is college. Thankfully, post-graduation, I am at a job where I am relieved to say I actually do things that matter. I get to take a class in significance.


Everything everyone does here at Chemistry is like a puzzle piece that eventually fits into a project, or campaign, or presentation. Nothing is irrelevant, no matter how much time it takes, how tedious it seems, or how laborious it feels.


I help it move forward. I help it progress.

If the agency is a well-oiled machine, I am part of the rocket fuel.


College, as much as it is fun as it is eye-opening, let’s be clear about something: It will not give you a step-by-step instruction (or introductory) guide on how to thrive after you’ve donned your cap and gown and walked across the stage.


However, I am grateful for a lot. I was exposed to people from all walks of life. Those four years were an incredible exposure to a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. Much like the agency world, you’ll rarely find just one type of person or client. You’ll be met with surprises and unique ideas and approaches. That’s what makes the agency life, and Chemistry, so special.


I have mentors all around me. Collaborative teachers who have light years of experience in working with a variety of clients. These are the people, exploring new frontiers every single day. They’re naming new stars and populating new planets.


There are no textbooks, only experiences.

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and adaptation is key, especially when you’re learning Chemistry.