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Feature: Kaylee Smith

July 20, 2020

Kaylee Smith in maroon, standing in an archway on the Texas State University campus

By Kaylee Smith
Strategist, Tribu Creative

In-Depth Conversations

The first time I heard about the Common Experience at Texas State was before I even stepped foot on campus. I was talking with two of my hometown best friends who had just finished their freshman year at Texas State. I was asking all the questions: “How is orientation? What is college like? What classes will I have to take?” From these questions, they told me about a book that all first-year students receive and read. Being the nerd I am, I was pumped.

In 2016, our Common Reading book was What It’s Like to Go To War by Karl Marlantes. I remember the in-depth conversations that were had in my University Seminar (US 1100) class and the connection I quickly made with my instructor. Coming to Texas State and enrolling with thousands of other students, I expected it to be impossible to connect with faculty and staff, but instead it felt comfortable.

Being Social

Fast forward two years, I received a phone call that I was being offered the position as the social media coordinator for Common Experience. During my first couple of weeks in the position I learned that the Common Experience was not just for first-year students. It is a program designed to connect Texas State students, faculty, staff, and the San Marcos community under one common theme.

I made it my mission to connect with Texas State via social media and reshape the messaging of the program. Over time, through team effort, the Common Experience became a leading voice on campus.

Students Kaylee Smith, Anna Martin, and Allison Jones holding up staff passes
Social media staff: Kaylee Smith, Anna Martin, and Allison Jones at Common's LBJ Distinguished Lecture in October 2019
Kaylee Smith, Anna Martin, Common, and Allison Jones
Kaylee Smith, Anna Martin, Common, and Allison Jones at a reception following the LBJ Distinguished Lecture

Kaylee Smith

Strategist, Tribu Creative
Digital Marketing & Advertising

Texas State Class of 2019

Texas State Highlights:

– Major in Public Relations and Mass Communication
– Minor in English
– Common Experience Social Media Coordinator, 2018-2019
– Alpha Delta Pi – Epsilon Zeta Member
– Honors College Student
– Member, College of Fine Arts and Communications Council of Scholars
– Alpha Chi Honor Society Member
– Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Member


The Moment: Common

Skip ahead to my senior year at Texas State and last year working for Common Experience. The theme was Truth, and Common was set to deliver the LBJ Distinguished Lecture. The night of the event, I stopped and looked around Strahan Arena as the seats filled one at a time with students of all ages, faculty and staff, and community members. 

I will never forget this moment. It was proof that the Common Experience was truly fulfilling its purpose and connecting the Texas State community under one common theme.

Actor and hip-hop artist Common delivers the LBJ Distinguished Lecture
Oscar/Emmy/Grammy-winning actor and hip-hop artist Common delivers the LBJ Distinguished Lecture at Texas State
Actor and hip-hop artist Common delivers the LBJ Distinguished Lecture
Common's speech drew the largest crowd (6,368) in the history of the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series, October 15, 2019

Connections

As an alumna of Texas State, I look back and realize that the Common Experience not only shaped my college experience but also the connections and skills I gained through getting involved, helping guide my career after college.

I could go on forever about the amazing memories I have of the Common Experience. But, all-in-all, my best advice is not to be afraid about getting involved. Your love for Texas State University will grow exponentially as you meet new people — learn and grow through this amazing program created just for you. After freshman year, I continued to meet with my US 1100 professor. In addition, many of the connections I made through the Common Experience I still keep and cherish today. ✯


Kaylee Smith

Kaylee Smith is a strategist at Tribu Creative, a San Antonio-based digital marketing, advertising, and design agency. She graduated summa cum laude from Texas State University in 2019, earning numerous academic honors in the process, and served as social media coordinator for the Common Experience from 2018 to 2019.