’07 Ball State alumna Sarah Aldridge refers to herself as a “confused” student who tried lots of different majors before she found her home in the department of Communication Studies. The start of her career has also been a winding road until she found her path in instructional design. She started building training materials for higher education institutions and recently moved to the industry side. She is now a lead instructional designer at Ontario Systems.
Interviewer: Any Ung, ’19 Telecommunications grad• Video: Ball State UMS
What kind of student were you at Ball State?
I was a student who was confused about what I wanted to do and what I wanted my life to look like. I tried a lot of different majors and tried a lot of different things before I found my home in the communication studies program.
What was your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place was the Art & Journalism building. There was a landing next to what was a coffee shop. We would meet there before class, some of my Comm Studies friends and I. Three times per week, we would have coffee there before we went to class so that became my favorite place on campus.
What was your favorite memory at Ball State?
One of my best favorite memories as a student was my second senior year. I was having a hard time, I kind of lost my way and was struggling to figure out what I wanted to do next after graduation. One of my professors from the Communication Studies department kept me after class and asked if we could take a walk, and talk. We chatted about what I wanted out of life and what I could do next to reach my goals. I honestly think that without that intervention, I would not have been able to finish the semester strong. So it was very reassuring to know that someone cared for me and was in my corner, trying to help me graduate and move on to my next step.
What professor had a positive impact on you?
There were two professors who significantly impacted my time at Ball State. Dr. Marianne Matthias was the person who had an intervention with me when I was not exactly sure what I was doing with school, and what I was going to do next. But still to this day, Dr. Laura O’Hara serves as a mentor for me. I cannot even tell you how many times she met with me event after I graduated as I tried to do graduate school and figure out where I was going to go. She also helped me with several different paths in my professional life so she continues to make a huge impact on my life even to this day.
What advice would you give your freshman self?
I think too often we live our life thinking, “I don’t know if I should stand out or I am not sure if I should try these new things.” “What if it does not work out?” I could meet my freshman self I would say, go for it. Try whatever you want to try. This is the time to do it. You don’t need to have the fear that things are not going to work out.