December 2, 2016

A “warrior of faith”

Webster University graduate student Audriana Smith was having trouble finding a job she was passionate about after her undergraduate studies in broadcasting. Smith, a devout Christian, prayed that God would help her find her way.

“I was just like ‘Lord, what am I supposed to be doing? What is my purpose?’” Smith said.

After a period of waiting tables, rejected resume DVDs and difficulty getting into grad school, the South Carolina native found her way to Webster’s online program in communication arts.  She will be graduating in June.

As an undergraduate, Smith attended Francis Marion University in South Carolina. As soon as she graduated, she found that it was difficult to find a job in broadcasting. In her spare time, she worked at Huddle House as a waitress. She moved back home to her parents.

Smith said she did not get a decent job until six months after graduation, but it was not in broadcasting. She worked as an administrator at a fire department.

“It wasn’t terrible, but because it was a temp job, there wasn’t really room to grow,” Smith said.  “I knew there was something more that I was supposed to be doing.”

Smith said she was finding it difficult to get into grad school because she did not do well on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE is a standardized test taken by students applying for postgraduate education.  Although Smith wanted to attend the University of Southern California, it was too expensive to retake the test.

Smith sent DVDs of her work to potential employers. However, she wasn’t hearing back from them, except for one news station which contacted her to let her know that the DVD she had sent wouldn’t play.

“I was constantly applying, but never got a job,” Smith said.

Going to grad school was still something Smith wanted to do. She said she had some friends who were obtaining their degrees through Webster.  Although she did not have the GPA that was required, she was able to get in another way.

“Webster worked with me and I became a provisional student,” Smith said.

For Smith, finally getting into grad school was step one.  Step two was getting a better paying job. She found another temp job as an administrative assistant at a law firm.  She said things are currently starting to look up.

Smith said her faith is a major factor for the shift in her life and that the struggles were intentional from God.

“I had to go through a little bit of struggle to get to where I am,” Smith said. “I’m mature now. I’m humble now.”

Smith grew up in the Pentecostal Holiness Church, an environment she described as “very strict.” She said being in this environment is a big tradition with a lot of families in the South. She comes from a big family that was very observant.

“We didn’t participate in a lot of sports and a lot of stuff with school because we had church on Friday nights and Saturdays,” Smith said.

Smith said she holds a strong personal belief in God because of the struggles she has gone through, such as dealing with a broken heart or even finding difficulty in the job search.

“Me going through my own personal situations and God proving himself to me is what kept me strong,” Smith said.

Smith created a YouTube series called #TalkAboutItThursday, videos where she and her co-hosts talk over Google Hangouts about modern issues. Faith is one of her main topics. She started using the hashtag on Facebook before a friend encouraged her to take it to YouTube.  She met her co-hosts over social media, and has only ever met one of them in person.

“I think God really orchestrated that [bringing us together],” Smith said. “We are thick as thieves.”

Faith blogger and author Patrick Williamson first associated with Smith because they were a part of the same community of faith. Smith had written posts for his personal blog about faith and love, targeted at young Christians.

“The one basic thing about Audriana’s posts that stand out most to me is how she writes with authority,” Smith said.

Williamson said Smith is a “warrior of faith,” and her habit of prayer gave her the will to keep dreaming and the strength to keep fighting.

“She will not stop fighting until she has done all that is possible, and everything that is necessary to reach all of her future goals,” Williamson said.

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