5 Things You Need to Know About...EB McCready (’17)
Let’s start with your schedule. Full-time student. You work. We counted at least 8 activities on the home page of your website (yes, EB has a website, check her out at www.ebmccready.com) in which you’re involved. You give TED talks. You obviously do not sleep. How do you juggle everything?
Contrary to popular belief, I do actually get about 7 hours per sleep each night. I wouldn’t be able to handle everything without a well-rested brain and body. Juggling so many activities takes a lot of energy, but I do it because I truly love everything I do.
This is what I’ve found is the key to keeping it together (or at least looking like you’re keeping it together): love everything you do. It’s easy to get stressed when you have a never-ending to do list, but if you’re looking forward to completing each task, instead of dreading it, it’s much easier to get things done. Even the most mundane of activities become exciting adventures when they’re contributing to something about which you’re truly passionate. Through my college career, I’ve discovered my own passions for communications, government, musicals, and nonprofits. As a result, I pursue opportunities that allow me to grow those passions. I participate in Sooner Scandals because it lets me get creative and write my own musical. My jobs in the Engineering College, CCEW, and Class Council help me develop my skills in marketing and communications. I was in The Oklahoma Group to work with nonprofits, and I was in student government to understand public policy. Everything I do directly relates to my passions, so nothing I do feels mundane.
However, loving what I do is not been the most important factor in keeping me steady in my overcrowded schedule; the people are. In everything I pursue, I am surrounded by incredible people. OU has provided me a community of driven and compassionate people who motivate me to be better every day. When I get overwhelmed, they’re around to encourage me and help me get back on track. When things are going great, they’re there to support me. I would not get through a day without the incredible support system OU has provided me. I could not be more thankful to go to a school that has so many opportunities that relate to my passions and so many incredible people to encourage me to pursue those opportunities.
You’re on track to graduate summa cum laude with dual degrees in advertising and management. What’s your study secret?
The biggest secret to how I do well in class is the same secret that helps me to juggle everything: study something you care about. As Steve Jobs once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” It’s cliche, but it’s true. However, I know that’s not exactly what you’re looking for, so I’ll say something a little more tangible.
I have an obsession with Microsoft Excel. I use it to organize my life. At the beginning of each semester, I consolidate all of my syllabi into one calendar on Excel that I check each week. It makes it much easier to stay up to date on when things are due and what I’m supposed to be learning. I’ve discovered that my brain is a bit too scattered to keep a traditional paper planner and that keeping an Excel document allows me to stay organized without getting lost in pages of paper. In this way, it’s important to know yourself; what works for other people may not work for you. It took years of trial and error for me to figure out what type of planning works for me.
My other study secret is another cliche: I go to class (for the most part ;) ). Teachers teach some pretty important things during the three hours per week that we’re expected to sit and listen to them. Go figure.
You’re a change agent. One of your focuses in seeking ways to impact the world through “growth and innovation.” How have you done so? How will you continue to do so?
Leaving a positive change wherever I go is my biggest goal. As an advertising major, I’ve noticed that much of advertising seeks to create new desires and wants in people, but I think the world has enough desires without it. I want to use advertising and communications to solve the problems that are already in the world, rather than waste time creating new ones. There is always room for growth in the world, and I want to be a part of keeping the world moving forward.
I used to be a bit more naive. I enjoyed marketing because it gave me a better understanding of how people thought and why they made certain decisions. It wasn’t until I was asked to join student government that I understood the power that communications has. In my time with SGA, I watched the power of communications build broken relationships with Inclusivity Night, give students new opportunities with involvement fairs, and change the future of campus with the new food pantry. I wanted to keep sharing the power of communications with others, so I joined The Oklahoma Group, where I was able to use marketing to boost growth for a local nonprofit organization. Today, I’m involved in CCEW where I am doing market research to advance a local startup.
Communications are extremely powerful. I want to use the skills that I have developed to use that power to benefit others. Whether it’s through public policy, nonprofits, or another avenue that I haven’t explored yet, I am determined to leave today better than I found it.
Your recent OU TEDx talk centered on your research and fascination with smiling and all the benefits of said facial expression. Why smile?
Growing up, I was never into princess movies. I enjoyed movies with animated animals. “The Lion King” was one of my favorite movies, and the phrase “Hakuna Matata” has stuck with me through the years. Nowadays, I try to make it sound a bit more sophisticated by using fancier quotes like this one from Martha Washington: “I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be; for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or our misery is based upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances.” It sounds fancier, but it basically means the same thing: no worries.
I’ve been blessed in my life that I’ve never had to face any large hardships, but I do face plenty of what I call mishaps. A mishap is a quirky and relatable inconvenience like running into a door, not getting the position you applied for, or forgetting your lines in an elementary school production of “Beauty and the Beast” (all of which I have done). Through the years of constant mishaps, I have discovered that no matter what you do, you can’t change something that has already happened, so the best way to get through this situations is to smile.
Smiling (just the physical act itself) triggers the release of positive chemicals in your brain that make you feel better, even if you’re faking it. It’s much easier to laugh at yourself when you’re already smiling, and even if it’s still tough to laugh at yourself, it’s easier to move on to the next thing because you’re not wasting time regretting what has already happened.
Either as a student, volunteer, activist or employee, you have experienced every facet of campus life at OU. What will you miss most when May rolls around and you graduate?
I’ll miss the people most when I graduate. As I said before, OU has blessed me with an incredible community that continues to build me up and encourage me. The students and the faculty have both contributed to making my college experience the incredible journey that it has been. This May, we will all go our separate ways as we pursue different opportunities (although I don’t quite know where I’m heading yet, so if you have any job offers, feel free to hit me up ;) ). However, even though we will all be dispersed around the world, I am confident that we will continue to invest in each other’s lives because we are a part of a community that is thousands strong. I know that just like this university, we will live on.