BENGAL TALES – Kevin Freiheit

Class Year: 2016
Degree: B.A. in Journalism

Current Occupation: Editorial Producer, Major League Baseball

Kevin Freiheit, '16

What is one of your fondest memories of Buffalo State?
In my first semester at Buffalo State, I had to take a public speaking course. It was a requirement if I wanted
to get my journalism degree. I hate public speaking. I'm a writer. I don't enjoy talking to large groups of people, but not many do. 

I was assigned to Tom Koller's class and I believe it was twice a week at 8 or 9 a.m. There weren't any tests or anything. Our grades were determined on a few five-minute speeches in front of the class. I was more than just nervous, I was anxious and shaky leading up to my first speech. I procrastinated and didn't start planning my speech until the night before. I think I only got two or three hours of sleep that night trying to think of what to talk about it, and then rehearsing. 

The next morning I got to class and just kept rehearsing in my head what I was going to do. I sat there watching and waiting the few people scheduled ahead of me, critiquing them and learning from what I could tell were their mistakes or techniques. Finally, it was my turn.

I stood up in the middle of the room, with desks circled around me and all eyes on me. There was nothing but silence and I was visibly shaking. I got the cue to begin the timed speech from the professor and I went with what I had practiced. 

I think I surprised every single person in that room when I stripped off my winter jacket and pants to reveal I was dressed in Sabres gear from head to toe. I caught the attention of everyone as they laughed and applauded and I continued with my speech on how my love of hockey began. It was an icebreaker that not only led me to an "A" in that class, but immediately helped me create friendships with colleagues. 

I still dislike public speaking, but I'll never forget my times in that class.

Were you involved with any on-campus organizations as a student?
I worked for The Record for a few years and submitted sports articles on a weekly basis. I then moved into an editor's role and took on greater responsibility. While it was the only organization I was involved in, it allowed me to attend events around campus that I wouldn't normally go to. Being a reporter got me more involved than I ever thought I would be as a commuter. 

I spent hours every week with The Record, planning and editing stories and laying out the design of that week's edition. There were nights when we were there until 3 a.m. putting the newspaper together. It wasn't just for the small (extremely small) paycheck every month, either. It was for the experience and the practice in journalism and I enjoyed doing it. I made friends that were interested in the same field while I was able to write for a publication every week. I'd recommend it to anyone in the communications field for sure.

How did graduating from Buffalo State shape your future?
The communications program at Buffalo State was strong preparation for the "real world." Throughout school, I quickly realized that it would be tough to get a job as just a writer. My courses taught me how to be a backpack journalist and I learned the art of photography, and audio and video editing. All of those are another skill that I can use in the future.

What accomplishments have you achieved since graduating from Buffalo State?
When I was living on Long Island for the summer a couple of years ago, I ran into a little bit of luck and was offered a job at the National Hockey League in Manhattan, NY. I took the position and decided to take a semester off of school, which turned into a couple of years. I was only four classes away from graduating.

I was regretting not ever finishing my degree and it was going to prevent me from moving up or going anywhere in the company. In the fall of 2015, I decided it was time to finish school. I went back to Buffalo and graduated this past May.

Since then, I'm living in Huntington, NY and am back with the NHL. I'm also newly engaged to my amazing fiancée and we'll be getting married next August.

Do you have any advice for current students trying to achieve success after graduation?
Be patient. You're not going to find your dream job right away, but find something that uses your degree and that you enjoy doing. Of course you'll run into rejection, but that just sets you up to prove more people wrong.


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Originally posted: January 2017