The thing I love about higher education is how different it is than any other profession. You can literally see the fruits of your labor in the form of students you come into contact with or through work you do that directly impacts the institutional mission.
I think what’s interesting is, colleges and universities have long legacies. You meet alumni who return to campus and share stories about how the school changed them forever and this is something that you find at the largest, most prestigious schools, as well as the smallest institutions. No one really cares. The fans are just as passionate (sometimes, more) at little colleges in the woods, as they are at big metropolitan institutions with name brand cache.
With other forms of marketing or communications, so much of what you have to “sell” is a product. In higher ed, I think it’s about communicating experiences. It’s not to say you’re not selling that school and why it’d be good for someone to attend it; it’s just the crux of your message is usually revolved around the idea of transforming lives and creating better citizens.
It’s both a rite of a passage and an experience that allows people from different walks of life to emerge from it completely different than how they start. This doesn’t just go for people who go to college and graduate, but for those who are behind the scenes making sure the trains run on time.
Watching that machinery work year after year, is truly a cool thing — as an insider and as an outsider.