There are a handful of people who choose their dream profession in college, find a job in that field after graduation, and live happy, fulfilled lives. The rest of us broadly fall into two camps: people who have no idea what they want to do and people who know what they want to do but have no idea how to get there. Coco Smith ‘11 fell into the second category.
Time and time again Smith tried to rationalize her way into pursuing a “normal career.” She came from a family where law school, medical school, or business school were the expected post-college steps. Becoming a fashion designer was too hard, not stable enough, and too competitive – especially for someone without a degree in design. She tried marketing, PR, and advertising – but none of them felt right. Finally, with no job and no prospects, Smith decided to give her true passion a chance. She got an internship with a designer in New York and has not looked back. Three years removed from graduation, Smith continues to work full-time for the same designer she interned with but has also launched her own line, called Rum + Coke. With no formal training, she has built a name for herself relying on creativity, intuition, and hard work. Far from a glamorous tale of instant fame and fortune, Smith’s story illustrates the challenges and promise of pursuing a less traditional career.