From Square Magazine to NYC nanny, UM student is now nurturing an IMC career

Rachel Long on a street in New York City. Photo submitted.
Rachel Long in New York City. Photo submitted.

Aliza Warner
Oxford Stories

A former University of Mississippi student, who was one of the original editors of Square Magazine, landed a job as a New York City nanny and is now nurturing a career in integrated marketing communications.

After interning in New York City during her sophomore year of college, Rachel Long knew she was destined to live and work there.

Her senior year at the University of Mississippi during the pandemic was not normal, and she saw it was the right time to start the next phase of her life.

“I was working at Heartbreak Coffee, and I was only taking one class,” she said, “and so I was kind of like, I should actually try to move to New York. And so I got this opportunity nannying, actually like starting out, and it provided my housing. So I was like, you know what, I’m just gonna take it.”

Long enrolled in UM as a political science major on the pre-law track, but later discovered she wanted more variety in her career. Once she switched to integrated marketing communications, she grew to love the major and the different opportunities it offered.

Rachel Long stands on a sidewalk in front of two rows of white chairs. Photos submitted.

Studying IMC teaches students about many aspects of communication, such as storytelling, public relations, social media, and more recently, fashion marketing, in which Long was interested.

During her senior year, she became one of the editors-in-chief of a new student publication, Square Magazine. Her main goal was to expand the publication across campus as the first fashion publication. Square Magazine was Long’s senior year passion project to leave behind for other students.

“And so, being able to put that in place [Square Magazine] as a senior, it felt like something that was like kind of a legacy that I was able to leave to the journalism school,” she said.

Elena Ossoski, one of the current editors-in-chief, said Long’s belief in her abilities from the beginning helped her make a difference in today’s magazine. 

“I loved working with Rachel on Square Magazine because she has a creative drive that is rare among Ole Miss students,” she said. “I would not have the role I do within the magazine if Rachel had not believed in my abilities from day one. Rachel has become a mentor as well as an insanely inspiring friend of mine in the short time that I’ve known her.”

In October of 2021, Long began applying for jobs in PR or marketing and became a communications associate at Meghan Wood Co. in NYC, where she now works. As a communications assistant, the goal is to help clients gain exposure, which may include sampling news clippings, pitching articles to editors to write about clients, and helping clients gain more brand exposure across the board.

Rachel Long takes a picture of herself with the reflection of a mirror. She is wearing all black, and a vase of white flowers sits on the ground in front of the mirror. Photo submitted.

While working with clients, Long stresses the importance of connections and networking in the industry. That is how the world of public relations works and it has helped her succeed.

As an IMC student, Long said many projects she completed were collective efforts, which taught her how to communicate with others and how to work together toward a common goal. However, she learned many skills working at Square Magazine.

“That was the thing that I felt like I had the most educational experience from,” she said. “Like all of my college courses were amazing, all of that kind of stuff, but Square [Magazine] taught me so much about working with people and, like, navigating a lot of different situations…”

Today, Long is on a path to embrace new experiences and learning opportunities, hoping to find a specific niche. She wants students to know college is a time to figure out what makes you happy, and when it comes to career paths, it is OK to be uncertain.

“I always used to think that everyone else had things more figured out than I did, that I needed to get all of my stuff in order because everyone else was getting (it) in order,” she said. “And, yeah, like college is just a time for figuring things out.”

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