I’m With the Band: How a College Student Turned Her Passion into a Career

Students Stay Fueled Up for Their Classes and Hobbies with College Care Packages from My College Crate

Danielle started college with a desire to participate in the campus music scene. She started by getting a deejay slot at the campus radio station, where she played tunes for a couple hours each week.

But when she befriended a classmate whose band played local shows and needed help getting the word out about them, she realized she could play an even bigger role in live music in her college town.

Music Marketing Powered by College Snack Boxes

A communications major, Danielle had access to graphic design software and knowledge about advertising and marketing, thanks to her course schedule and degree program. But because this was a time when the only social media platforms available were Facebook and MySpace, word-of-mouth was a big part of how Danielle helped her friend’s band succeed.

“Building my foundation in promotions and marketing was definitely made easier because of the size of the college town,” Danielle said. “The student body was small enough that there were easily identifiable ways to get people to attend shows and buy merch.”

So Danielle handed out fliers and sold advance tickets to shows, posting information on Facebook, and even talking about upcoming concerts on her radio show.

“The band was playing at venues that were small, and super independent,” Danielle remembers. “There wasn’t a promotion team for the venue at all. Sometimes it was an empty building someone was renting. Sometimes it was someone’s outbuilding on their property. Occasionally it was a bar. But getting the word out was squarely on our shoulders.”

The process could be exhausting. Danielle still had to complete her homework – up to five hours a day – and her mom helped her stay fueled by sending her college care packages from a local grocery store.

“They were full of snack items, candy, and even soda sometimes, which I could share with my friends while we were brainstorming next steps,” she said. “Thank goodness my mom sent those; they kept us fed while we were putting in hours.”

To make advertising the band’s upcoming shows easier, Danielle gathered her friends and took photos of them, in posed shots they thought might be worthy of an album cover. These images became the foundation for posters and Facebook posts. 

Merchandise is a big way bands make a little bit of money – often more so than from concert tickets, especially for smaller acts. Using the skills she acquired in a publication design course, Danielle created a graphic for a t-shirt, which the band printed and sold for $15. Combined with locally-printed stickers, and CDs they burned from their own computers, they kept their merch table full.

“As a 19-year-old kid, I don’t think I realized what I was learning when I found ways to apply my coursework to marketing this band,” Danielle said. “But looking back on it today, I see how I was polishing skills that made me an asset after graduation, when I was applying for my first ‘big kid’ job.”

Entering the Corporate World

After graduation, Danielle’s friends went their own ways, and the band split up, forming solo acts or new groups with new people in new cities. Although Danielle had little on her resume, aside from a journalism internship she’d had one summer, she found that she was well-qualified for positions at a few companies looking for someone to use creative marketing methods for their services and products.


“I never thought I’d ever end up in a corporate job,” Danielle said. “I thought the most formal role I’d ever have was writing for a newspaper or TV news station. But it wasn’t at all.”


The skills and experiences Danielle had with her essentially volunteer position with her friend’s band meant that she could impress her interviewers.


“They would ask questions like, ‘When was a time you overcame an obstacle professionally?’ or ‘Give us an example of a marketing campaign that was a success,’ or ‘What did you learn from your greatest failure as a marketer?’” Danielle remembered. “And I could answer them. As someone fresh out of school, I think that was really impressive. I didn’t have to rely solely on classes and collaborating with my peers as the basis for my interview answers.”


Within a few months of graduation, Danielle had landed a job, marketing physician clinics. Although it wasn’t her dream job, she was able to leave her small college town and relocate several times, landing in a creative role in New York City.

Advice for Getting Involved with a Passion Project

Danielle’s story is one of many others like hers, in which a young person found a way to make a difference within a community or subculture they were a part of. But even though it’s relatively common to find meaning for your life while you’re in college, not everyone feels empowered to do it.

“The hardest part was getting started,” Danielle said. “No one asked me to help, or wondered aloud who could assist with merch and promos. I stepped up.”

Once she was involved, she felt like she was part of something important. Danielle said college students can find their niche or work on projects that are special to them, if they take the initiative. She advises:

  • Find something you really care about, and get involved in a small way at first. Discover how you can help do something you’re uniquely qualified to do. This might not be something you independently find yourself. It can be an activity through a campus organization you belong to, like a sorority, fraternity, or honor society.

  • Once you’re involved, keep your word. Finish the work you say you’ll do, and do it well.

  • Keep learning. You’ll find new ways to do things that make bigger and bigger impacts.

Parents: Keep Your Students Motivated with Monthly Care Packages from My College Crate

Danielle credits much of her success to her mom, who pushed her to do well, but also made sure she had everything she needed to stay happy and healthy while away at school. One of the ways she did this was by sending Danielle care packages full of snacks and other items.

“Because I had all these great things sent straight to my dorm, I didn’t have to venture off campus as often to stock up,” Danielle said. “It saved me a lot of time to focus on my studies and my side projects.”

Today’s parents have it easier than Danielle’s did, because you can order care packages for students online, rather than calling the grocery store and hoping one of their departments can assist you. You can visit MyCollegeCrate.com and sign your student up for a one-time care package or subscribe them to our monthly care package subscription service.

Your student will receive a new box with a unique theme, full of items they’ll love. In the past, contents have included bluetooth speakers, Amazon gift cards, socks, microwaveable meals, hand sanitizer, journals, school supplies, games, and much more.

Learn how you can make your student’s college years special by sending them care packages they’ll never forget. 

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