Caroline Long never imagined herself working for a university's foundation when she graduated. In fact, the former mass comm major distinctly remembers planning on going down a strategic communications path.
"After I graduated, I had to fulfill an internship in order to get my mass comm degree, so I went and worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for Samaritan's Purse," she said. "I was their communications intern, so I wrote a lot of their pieces and helped come up with a strategic communications plan for DRC specifically. I liked it. I loved where I was, and I loved working with Samaritan’s Purse. I realized I didn’t necessarily love doing what I was doing for them, but then I came to Atlanta and worked for a ministry there, and I was writing a lot of their communication pieces too. Then, I realized kind of through it all that really my favorite part of communications is building relationships with people. I love the face-to-face interpersonal communications with individuals."
It was then that Long realized Georgia College was her true home.
"I loved Georgia College and I missed it when I left, so I was always checking job opportunities and this one popped up," she said. "I loved everything that I was going to be doing and learning, so I went for it. Its been a fun journey so far. Ive been here since August and at first I had zero development and advancement knowledge at all. In these few months, Elizabeth Hines has taught me so much about development and I learn more every day."
Aside from building relationships with Georgia College stakeholders and helping with the Senior Class Giving Campaign, Long still plays an active role in missions. After visiting Port-Au-Prince her freshman year, she was hooked. Since then, Long has been to Haiti nine times so far and has had a different experience every time.
"I didn’t really think I would be able to go this year, but I was able to," she said. "Minooka Bible Church is in Chicago, and they actively work in the mission field throughout Haiti. They own a few orphanages, and one of them is a special needs orphanage. One of the main religions in Haiti is voodoo. So, if a child has any type of special needs, they believe that the child is cursed. They often leave them out on the side of the road. This church provides the financial needs they need. We did a lot of work there, building beds and ramps for wheelchairs and painting some other orphanages."
Long also volunteers around Milledgeville in her spare time. On Sundays, you can find her at Northridge Christian Church mentoring high schoolers at their high school ministry. She also assists with the Georgia College Volleyball team by announcing games. For her, its all about the relationships she builds.
"The most rewarding part would be the relationships you gain with serving. People come from all different walks of life, and you are able to gain incredible friendships through volunteering."
Recently, Long got the opportunity of a lifetime by getting to be a contestant on the popular game show Family Feud. She recalls how hectic the process was after their audition.
"It was crazy," said Long. "Once they get you out to Los Angeles, you aren’t guaranteed to be on the show. You have to bring it in rehearsals that day, and whoever goes all out gets filmed. They film five episodes a day so they have at least 10 or so families a day waiting to go on. After going through all the rules, you go in the studio where they interview you. They take the interviews and put together some questions for Steve Harvey to ask. We must have really left an impression, because we were the first family to film that day. The producers notify you minutes before recording by pulling you from the audience and getting nametags made really quick. And then it’s the real deal."
She also remembers the host of the show, Steve Harvey, and his interactions with the crowd.
"Steve Harvey is hilarious," she said. "The thing that makes him different from most game show hosts is that during commercial breaks he stays on stage and talks to the audience. He’s a comedian, so he does a lot of jokes and even has real moments with them too. He also came and talked to our family too. He’s really encouraging and a funny guy to be around."
If there is one piece of advice that Long would tell people wanting to get on the show, it would be to practice hitting a buzzer.
"We didn’t realize when we were practicing for Family Feud that even though the questions are an important part of the game, we didn’t practice hitting the buzzer," she said. "If anyone is ever going to go on Family Feud, practice hitting the buzzer. That was definitely hard for our family to try to hit the buzzer first."
See how Long and her family did on Family Feud April 23. Check your channel provider's listings for times.