Alumnus Ronnie Deaver graduated in 2013 and went to the University of Oklahoma. While in high school Deaver participated in chess club, band and took AP classes.
What have you done after high school?
“After HS I went to college at the University of Oklahoma (I expect some flack for that one, boomer sooner!) for Petroleum Engineering – while there I started a company, failed (all part of the journey), and decided to switch my major to marketing and take classes 100% online,” Deaver said. “Afterwards, I followed a girl to Boston, MA (which unfortunately didn’t work out) and have stayed here since, about 3 years. I now run a successful freelance digital marketing business and work full time at the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge (MITEF Cambridge) helping train early stage entrepreneurs.”
What made you want to do what you are doing now?
“Total accident – when I moved to Boston I was broke and needed money to pay the bills, so I turned to Craigslist and found someone who was looking for help building their website… of course I had no idea how to build a website but it was either figure it out or miss my rent payment, so I reached out and scheduled a meeting,” Deaver said. “The first thing he says was “I want to show up number one on google” and I was like.. buddy, thats a whole different thing than building you a website… but if you pay me $400/mo, I’ll make it happen! Being as I didn’t know how to build a website, I definitely didn’t know how to rank on Google, but after relentless effort and research, I was able to make it happen in about 4 months time. So began my career in digital marketing.”
Explain what you are doing now.
“What I do for my current “job” and what I do for my “career” are a bit different right now – my full time job is working as a Community and Event Manager for MITEF Cambridge – I created their successful facebook group called The Greater Boston Startups group which recently crossed 1,100 members and help make over 30 annual tech/startup events happen each year,” Deaver said. “In addition to that, I help them obtain money from sponsorship companies interested in supporting our non profit. It’s been a thrill getting the new experience, however, my true passion lies in digital marketing. In short, I’m the reason ads follow you on Facebook and why certain companies show up higher on Google than others (you’re welcome :P). Most of my freelance gigs now are working with digital and subscription products to help package them up, launch them, and create sustainable and long term marketing strategies to increase revenue. You may have heard buzzwords like “lead generation”, “Email marketing”, “Seo”, “paid advertising”, “social media: etc, I work with all of that to build marketing campaigns.”
What is your advice to current high schoolers?
“Before your junior year, take the Practice SAT seriously – what they don’t tell you is that some colleges will offer you nearly fully rides for being a national merit scholar,” Deaver said. “That 2k scholarship for successfully becoming a scholar isn’t worth much, but many public schools really want more scholars in their ranks. Second, be careful accepting all your AP credits your first year of college. I went to college with 44 College credits from my AP tests and went straight into more difficult classes, which made the adjustment to college harder. What they don’t tell you is that those AP credits don’t count as part of your GPA and so you lose an easy opportunity to help boost your overall college GPA and instead immediately start college on hard mode when you should be focusing on making friends and adjusting. Worse still, many degrees only offer classes during certain times of the year so ultimately you don’t get to graduate any faster, your GPA is likely lower, your classes are harder, and you have less time for friends. Final thoughts – college isn’t the only next step after high school, it’s just the most highly promoted. I completed college through an online course and don’t believe it affected my career at all. I was able to break into digital marketing entirely through self learning and freelance projects and was even able to score a corporate marketing job in the 60,000+ range before I even completed my degree. Learning is incredibly important, but you don’t need college to pursue a career or a passion. Consider all your options and try to avoid student loans – they’re more of a pain in the ass than everyone makes them out to be.”