Get ready for a "Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride" on Gabrielle's blog. Like the eponymous Disneyland ride, Gabrielle can weave a tale that is "more frenetic than frightening." The experience is much like Gabrielle's unbridled energy and activity schedule. You'll see.
First, who is Gabrielle Hoyt?
Why people choose to attend Auburn is always interesting to learn. In Gabrielle Hoyt's case, we may have been blessed by her attendance ... on a mere whim. And I do mean blessed. You'll learn why below.
"I have no idea why I applied to Auburn, but the second I stepped foot onto campus for my tour, it didn't matter why I was there, because I knew I was home. I am a true believer in the Auburn family and I felt that love from my first day at Camp War Eagle to today living in Atlanta. I may not have been an Auburn fan born and raised, but my kids sure will," said Gabrielle.
Gabrielle graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2012 with a B.A. in Public Relations, Concentration in Management. Along the way, she garnered some remarkable awards and achievements. Stephen Sprayberry wrote about Gabrielle's frenetic - yet controlled - schedule here in Auburn Family - A Real Life: I Don't Know How She Does It.
Her campus involvement, alone, is remarkable.
Find more videos like this on Auburn Family
But, that's just the main activities. There's more.
Stephen writes, "Just by taking a look at Hoyt’s jam-packed, color-coded planner, you’d probably gasp in disbelief and wonder how in the world she gets everything done without having a nervous breakdown."
Judge for yourself. Just look at a typical set of pages in Gabrielle's planner.
Now, consider this ... that's only Gabrielle's classes, activities and work. Remember, Gabrielle graduated Summa Cum Laude and she is an Honors College graduate. So, somewhere in there, she actually found time to - study.
Gabrielle was one of two recipients of the 2012 Daniel J. Edelman/Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Award. (See story.)
Her award meant that Gabrielle would receive "a $500 award; plus, an interview with her choice of Edelman agency offices. The PRSSA award has only two recipients nationwide. The Daniel J. Edelman PRSSA award recognizes an outstanding student who best demonstrates the leadership, commitment and strong work ethic exemplified by my father to be successful in a career in public relations,” said John Edelman, managing director of Edelman’s global engagement and corporate responsibility.
So, to put it simply, Gabrielle left college with a promising future ahead of her. Her choice of offices at Edelman? Atlanta. That choice would lead her to write her blog on a topic that will likely cause anyone from Atlanta to do a double-take. As in, "Whaaaa?"
"After graduation, I moved to Atlanta and began an internship at a PR firm downtown. After a month and a half of commuting - I was sick of it. I decided to start taking the Marta - the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. In my blog I joke about it as the red-headed step daughter of the mass transit world. People give the Marta a lot of crap in Atlanta and the majority of people don't take the Marta and say I might get killed on it or something ridiculous. But I decided after weeks of almost car accidents and ridiculous gas prices, it was time for a change," said Gabrielle.
Hey, she's tough.
"Well I figured I would have a few fun adventures to tell on my daily commute. Also I thought it would be a nice way to keep in touch with my family and friends who I miss terribly," said Gabrielle. This is where the blog Adventures in marta-ing was born. You'll love the sub-title: "BECAUSE THE INTERSTATE IS FOR CHICKENS"
"Working in PR you are expected to do a lot of writing. I found, however, that the writing you do in PR is business-oriented and has a specific purpose. I love to write creatively, with an ultimate goal to one day publish a book of creative stories loosely based on my life. I thought this blog would be a good place to start writing each day and keep my creative chops up in hopes to one day eventually accomplish that dream," said Gabrielle.
I love this blog. It is fun and it is touching ... even a bit sad at times. Gabrielle captures the fabric of marta life. I'll share this one excerpt from a recent post. Day 23 - Home-less
I walk to and from the station, a distance of maybe four blocks, and see a dozen homeless people. It literally hurts my heart to see that pain. I can just picture myself; different clothes, different shoes, different jewelry, to and from by and by these people each day. Fully fed, freshly showered, walking to and from an employed job. I don’t always have change or food on me, so I walk by them and pretend I don’t hear what they say. And it’s so painful. But if it’s painful for me, I can’t imagine what it is for them.
So THEN when things like today happen, I get so excited. At a goodbye-drinks-thing after work today, there was a bunch of extra food and I happily put it in boxes to pass around as I made the walk back to the Marta station.
On my way, a man stops me and asks, “can you help me get some food?” Well isn’t that just fine, dandy and perfect. I got myself three little boxes full of food! ”Here you go!” I happily respond. Two boxes left. As I see the next person I think might need some food I think "What if I offer some food to someone who’s not homeless?" Oh well… Then I see a man lying on a bench with his hand held out. I ask him if he’d like some food and the joy in his eyes was amazing. I felt so wonderful.
I didn’t see a third person to give my third box to before I got to the Marta station. Not thinking I would see anyone inside, I cross the street to a woman sitting on the ground, reading a book and give her the food and walk right back across the street toward the station.
Feeling happy with myself and the not-wasted food, I joyfully walk down the stairs into the Marta station. Before I could even use my pass to get through the gates, I see a woman without one of her feet in a wheelchair searching through the trash can for food. And there I stood, empty handed.
I guess you can’t help everyone.
Gabrielle's sentimentality gives way to a bit of dark humor in Day 11 - Cry Baby, Cry. She got to leave early from work one day. On this fateful day, Gabrielle gives help to another wayward soul.
As I got back to Lenox station and was heading up the escalator, I thought it would be another non-bloggable journey. That was until a Sweet Young Man asked if he was headed the right way to the mall. At the Lenox station, if you go right you go to the parking lot, if you go left you get to the mall. Sweet Young Man was, in fact going the wrong way. I told him to go back down the escalator to the other side of the station and that would bring him back to the mall.When I told him he was going to the wrong way he looked sad and defeated. I told him not to worry, it’s not a big deal.
I’m not surprised he got so sad. He must be the type of person who gets sad a lot. I mean, he even had two teardrops tattooed under his right eye. Sweet Young Man.
The frighenting thing, of course, is that Sweet Young Man's tattoo tear drops have many possible meanings. Among them, they could mean he may well have killed two people. In some areas it would mean he is a Crip or part of the Folk Nation gang. He may have lost two loved ones or he's been to prison. It could, of course, also mean he was just someone that likes a good tattoo ... and tears mean something special to him. Let's hope for this last version.
Gabrielle, I'm confident, knows the connotations of the tattoo and her reference to Sweet Young Man struck a chord as a telling hint of dark humor. That's just a small part of what makes her writing fun to read.
You really should check out Gabrielle's blog Adventures in marta-ing. It's a blessing. (Don't miss Day 9 - Turbulence. Mama and the Wonderful Airport Land of Games is worth the visit. I won't share here. You need to read the whole story.)
Encourage Gabrielle to (a) keep the blog going and (b) to be very, very safe. We're proud of Gabrielle and we want to keep her around for a long, long time. She is, after all, a young woman in a hurry. She seems to want to capture all the experiences she can - as fast as she can.
From Gabrielle's Facebook page under Favorite Quotes:
"There’s plenty of time, right? Plenty of time." - John Lennon, Dec. 5, 1980.
Photo credits: Gabrielle's blog and Facebook page, Flickr's Creative Commons photos, and the Marta website.
Editor's Note: This series highlights students and alumni blogging.
Whether it be for personal pleasure or for work, the practice seems to be growing.
This has now become a six-week series. And these are our final five bloggers.
~ Robert French