Nicole Benjamin, ’17, created her own path at Meredith by taking advantage of a unique option to design her own major. She will graduate in May with double contract majors in arts management and musical theatre, ready to take on the challenges of moving to Los Angeles to audition for TV and film roles, and launching her own production and publishing company. As a result of pursuing a customized course of study and spending three summers interning with a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Nicole has the academic foundation, practical experience, and industry connections to make her dreams a reality.
She credits the mentors and the network she’s developed at Meredith with pushing her and helping her see owning her own entertainment business “as one of the many possibilities” for her career path.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to surround myself with individuals from all walks of life that have made me a better woman,” she says. “I was taught what it means to work hard by my professors who mentored me through developing a double contract major.”
Born in New York City, Nicole grew up in a small town not far from Raleigh. She knew she wanted a college that would allow her “to foster relationships with students, faculty, and staff who shared similar values,” while also broadening her world view.
Meredith’s small size allowed her to immediately begin forming these relationships as early as her freshman year.
“From my first day at Meredith, I’d already begun to develop close relationships with the very people I had once hoped to meet on a personal level. The love, friendship, and community I gained by coming to Meredith are what have made me strong these last four years.”
Nicole says the community she’s found at Meredith – and the lessons she’s learned from the network she built – gave her “the strength to pursue an internship in the promotions department at Atlantic Records in New York” the summer after her freshman year.
“From that experience, I learned to network, and every summer since, I have worked alongside Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Keith Shocklee of Public Enemy and The Bomb Squad at Shocklee Productions.”
Not only did her relationships with Meredith faculty and staff give her the confidence to break into the entertainment industry, they have helped her stay strong in a tough field.
“When I have faced hardships in my field, I have called on my mentors for guidance.”
The all-women environment at Meredith has proven to be one of Nicole’s favorite parts of her college experience.
“The thing I have enjoyed most about attending a women’s college is obtaining an education while being surrounded by so many strong, driven, inspiring, and hardworking women.”
As she prepares for life after Meredith, Nicole has some advice for others on what it means to go to Meredith and on how to get the most out of the experience.
“Being a Meredith woman is about knowing that you were accepted [here] to do great things. It is about believing you can do anything you set your mind to despite any odds against you,” she says. “Allow yourself to be reminded daily that Meredith will provide you with the tools you need for success and help you develop the coordinates to your dreams. Jump at every opportunity that comes your way, know your worth, and be present.”
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