Personal & Professional Enrichment

Most days, life is super cool. Had no idea I’d be here, now, doing all the things I’m doing. Life rocks.

By Emily White

Growing up inSanford,Michigan, a small town betweenMidland(Dow Chemical) andMt.Pleasant(CentralMichiganUniversity), I dreamed of being a veterinarian and going to MSU. Passing out at the sight of blood during a job shadow crushed that dream. I attendedDeltaCollegefor one year to take “pre-teaching” classes to become a Biology teacher. Once I transferred toSaginawValleyStateUniversity, I took Psychology 101 and fell in love with the study of the mind and perceptions of reality. I decided to get a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and go on to get my PhD and conduct research or teach or something.

Life offered a different path.

I received rejection letters from seven of the eight Social Psychology PhD programs I applied to. The last letter provided a ray of light in the darkness of rejection – The University of Chicago offered me a spot in their MAPSS program – Master of the Arts Program in Social Science.Chicagofor a Master’s degree? Well, why not? My cat and I left my boyfriend and family inMichiganand settled into a one-bedroom apartment in Hyde Park,Chicago,Illinois.

In less than one year, I finished my Master’s degree and a 44-page thesis “Understanding the Faith-related Charitable Impulse in International AIDS Services”.

Great – now what? The decision of “what to do with my life” was directed by my now-husband Paul’s acceptance into graduate school at the Universityof Massachusetts. We moved to Amherst, Massachusettsin Fall 2007. I wanted to work in a nonprofit organization in some sort of coordinator, human relations or communications capacity. I quickly realized I would not be able to work in that sector and support the two of us. We began volunteering with the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society. I started applying to all types of jobs working with people. I took the first solid interesting job offer I received – seasonal Human Resources Coordinator for the Yankee Candle Company.

The seasonal position ended when I accepted a job as a Project Assistant for the Committee Recruitment Group with Pearson Education. It was my job to recruit teachers to evaluate test questions for teacher certification tests, like the MTTC, and also to recruit students to do pilot testing. I loved working on something new every day and the human relations, communications and marketing aspects of my job.

Career paths change. Education goals change. Paul accepted a full ride scholarship from MSU to attend law school. We had the fortunate chance to move home to Michigan! I’m one of the lucky ones who got to truly experience MichAgain. We moved home in July 2010. I began volunteering with Habitat Lansing and the Grand River Connection. Job prospects were not so great for a social science graduate, but being in human resources gave me an edge to the application process. By the end of August, I was hired on as a Technical Recruiter at HRU, Technical Resources.

During this turbulent moving job-seeking period of my life, I turned to yoga for relaxation, exercise and to de-clutter my mind. A mutual yoga friend introduced me to Just B Yoga, a donation-based community-driven yoga and tai chi studio inREOTown. One Saturday night, after getting lost and hoping I wasn’t in a bad part of town, I stumbled into the free community yoga class. I loved the warm and welcoming atmosphere and the challenge of the class style. After attending classes for a month, I could see that the studio’s owner/founder might be able to use some help, and I offered to assist. I became the Promotions Manager for Just B Yoga.

Being a technical recruiter and a promotions manager requires the use of social media. I created a Twitter account, @emilywhitemi, when we moved toLansing. I quickly became aware of the #LoveLansing hashtag and was utterly impressed by the incredible people and energy floating around in the Twitterverse. Through #LoveLansing, I met other great local people, including the director of the Women’sCenterofGreater Lansing.

When I posted my Facebook status update last week “Most days, life is super cool. Had no idea I’d be here, now, doing all the things I’m doing. Life rocks.” it was in reference to the Women’s Center. I had just learned that I passed the interview process and was offered a position on the Board of Directors for the Women’sCenterofGreater Lansing!

As a technical recruiter, I get to find the right people for career opportunities across the country. As a promotions manager, I get to talk about and work for a person and idea and activity I passionately believe in and support. As a board member and volunteer, I get to help advocate wonderful organizations and to help connect people with greatly needed resources in Lansing. On the side, I help people with career services items (resumes, cover letters, and interview preparation) and I plan to take yoga teacher training at Hilltop Yoga. I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by awe inspiring people on a daily basis.

To the never ending question of “what am I going to do with my life?!” – My advice is to be patient and test out the variety of twisted paths that life offers! I’m certainly not where I thought I would be, but I love what I’m doing. From veterinarian or social psychologist to HR professional, promotions manager, board member and yogi…life rocks.


Emily White is a recruiter, yoga aficionado, baker/cook, local business/food supporter and an alumnus from SVSU and UChicago –though she is a friend to all Spartans and lives vicariously through her husband who is attending MSU Law. She writes blog entries on HR on Women of HR and on her personal blog, Wildwood HR. She also writes a cooking and yoga blog at You can connect with her on LinkedIn at, on Twitter at @emilywhitemi or via email at



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