Dear Ad Society,

I heard about you during freshman year while attending the Virtual CJC Student Involvement Fair. It was 2020 and I was still a journalism major. And even though I was stuck taking online courses in my dorm room for the year, I was determined to be involved with the CJC in some way. I visited “virtual booths” for the Association for Media Professionals and the Black Public Relations Society. And I was almost ready to call it a day. But that’s when I came across you. I spoke to Cameron Hassen, who was the president at the time, and told him that I was trying to get a feel of other majors in case I wanted to ever switch mine. He talked to me about his decision to major in advertising, how he thought it was better than Marketing, and why he chose to participate in Ad Society. He told me about the community and support he had and all the amazing trips. He was selling me on the creativity and the passion that advertising included and the trips seemed amazing. But I felt that I couldn’t fully commit to you. So, I decided to admire you from afar.

Then sophomore year came and I realized that journalism was not the major for me. Amid the panic and existential crisis that I felt trying to decide what I should major in, you came to mind.I decided to attend a few virtual meetings to see what you were about. And after hearing from a few speakers that talked about their unpredictable journeys to advertising, majoring in advertising seemed like the best decision to make.

But even after switching my major to advertising, I wondered if I had made the right choice. Advertising was an unpredictable career. It had so many different disciplines and I didn’t even know what I really wanted to specialize in. But there you were, with your many events and passionate speakers. The speakers you hosted, my favorite being the UF Alumni panel, and the events you held, allowed me to figure out what I wanted to do and gave me the motivation to step into this industry confidently. And even though the pandemic affected your membership count and the trips you could take, you slowly started to build back up again to help create a solid community for ad students.

You allowed me to grow my writing skills and explore my creative interests as the co-blog director. I didn’t know what to expect coming into this role, but I was able to be creative and write about anything and everything that I wanted. I enjoyed contributing to Ad Society by taking care of this blog. Sharing my own stories and perspective while in Ad Society has been amazing.

You introduced me to some of the most amazing people in the CJC. To be around so many students who were also trying to navigate their journeys and figure out which discipline they fit into made me feel so much comfort in not knowing what I wanted to do. And then finally seeing those same students figure out what they wanted to do was inspiring. 

And to have had the opportunity to mentor and connect with a hard-working, talented, kind and beautiful soul with so much potential and promise, has been one of the greatest experiences that I’ve had this year.

So thank you Ad Society, for helping me figure out what I want to do; for helping me make friends who are also trying to navigate this crazy industry; and for giving me the motivation to chase after every opportunity to grow my skills as a creative. I may be graduating and leaving the CJC, but I will never leave you behind. I’ll try to visit you soon and I’m only a call away. Keep touching and improving students’ lives.

Thank you for everything,

Janelle Houston