Savannah Woods, 21, will have the distinction of being the School of Journalism and New Media’s first person to graduate with degrees in both journalism and IMC.
Woods is a senior double major and double minor at the University of Mississippi from Cabot, Arkansas.
She is majoring in integrated marketing communications with a minor in business administration, and majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in English.
Woods received the Excellence in Integrated Marketing Communications Award during the University of Mississippi Awards Convocation and Journalism School Awards night. Only two seniors were selected out of all graduates from the program this year.
We asked Woods some questions about how she managed to do this during her time at UM, and she offered advice about how other students can make the most of their time in college. She said the key component is drive.
What are some of the things you are involved in on campus?
I have been heavily involved on campus over my last four years. Freshman year, I served on the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Student Advisory Council with 25 of the top leaders on campus. I also served on Crosby Community Council while I lived in the dorms. For two years, I served as the Spoon University Editorial Director. I currently am a School of Journalism and New Media Ambassador. I am also a member of the American Marketing Association and Society for Professional Journalists.
What made you decide to study at Ole Miss?
I always knew that Ole Miss was where I wanted to go to school. Back in 1998, my parents began purchasing season tickets to football games, and I grew up, from the time I was a year old, in the Grove. My whole life, it was my dream to be an Ole Miss Rebel. In high school, I was heavily involved in public speaking, debate and journalism. My love for these areas grew into something I knew I wanted to become my career path.
Originally, at freshman orientation, I was signed up for the integrated marketing communications degree program. Over my first year at Ole Miss, I was constantly back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to pursue journalism and be on camera or stay in IMC.
How did you come to major in both journalism and IMC?
I went to my amazing advisor, Jennifer Simmons, and expressed my concern about being undecided. Ultimately, I decided to change my major to broadcast journalism, but then started second guessing the switch . . . so I went back into her office. I looked at her and said, “Is it possible to do both, but still graduate on time in four years because I can’t afford to do additional semesters?”
And she just kind of looked at me and said, “With most students, I would say it’s ‘no,’ but I think you can do it.” So after declaring both majors and minors, I had to work extremely hard. Every semester, I was in 18 hours, trying to crank out all of the requirements so I could graduate on time. It also helped that I did dual enrollment in high school, so I already had 12 credit hours towards my general education classes when I started freshman year.
Now, after much hard work and dedication, I will complete and graduate this May (2019) with two majors and two minors in four years from the School of Journalism and New Media at Ole Miss.
Was it difficult balancing your schedule while taking both tracks?
It was definitely difficult at times to balance my schedule while taking both tracks. Not only was I a double major and double minor, but I worked three jobs and was involved in extracurricular activities all while trying to maintain a social life.
While I was taking 18 hours every semester, I worked all four years for Ole Miss Football Video and traveled with the football team. I also worked all four years as a student desk assistant at the J.D. Williams Library, then as a social media and editorial intern for HottyToddy.com, and as a teaching assistant for Journalism 102 for a semester.
Would you recommend that other students double up like you did?
My advice and recommendation for all other students trying to double up and tackle everything is time management. Dewey Knight, one of my greatest friends and mentors, stressed this so much to me my freshman fall at Ole Miss. My planner is like my best friend. I don’t go anywhere or do anything without it. Being a good time manager is key in trying to balance two degrees, jobs, clubs and a social life, but it is totally possible if you have the work ethic and drive to do so.
What do you hope to do/work after graduation? And when will you graduate? This May?
I graduate May 2019. Last summer, I lived in Normandy, France while working on my internship filming a WWII Documentary “The Girl Who Wore Freedom.” After graduation, I am returning to Europe to see the premiere of the film that I had the privilege to be part of and work on. After a month in Europe, I will return home to Arkansas to visit my friends and family before moving and starting my job in Nashville, Tennessee in August.
What advice do you have to offer current and future journalism/IMC students in our school?
Enjoy every second. Ole Miss is a special, special place. As a journalism/IMC major, I encourage other students in the school to utilize every opportunity that we are provided with. There are so many outlets and tools available to us to get involved in and take advantage of.
Engage with your professors, ask them for advice, get involved in the clubs and programs, go to class. We are so blessed to attend a university and be part of a school that cares about our progress and our future as leaders in these industries. A good work ethic and determination to succeed will take you all far in life, so don’t take this place and these resources for granted.
I just want to also say thank you to all of my professors and mentors in and out of the journalism school who have been so monumental in my progress and molding me into the young woman I am today. I could not have accomplished my goals and dreams without their help and guidance.