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Meet Our November Alumna Spotlight: Hope Johnson

Our November Alumna Spotlight features Hope Johnson! Read more to hear what she has been doing since she graduated in December 2020!

After graduation, Hope landed a job at BuzzFeed as a designer! She spent two years working at BuzzFeed and just recently started a new job working as a designer for the HGTV magazine. Hope's goal in the future is to just keep experimenting, trying new things, and figuring out what makes her happy!

Hope says, "Theta taught me what true friendship looks like. I met so many women in Theta who amazed me with their selflessness and empathy, and being their friend gave me confidence and strength that I never would have imagined. I hope to one day be the friend that so many Thetas have been for me."

Name: Hope Johnson

Theta pledge class: MC '16

When you graduated from Mizzou: December 2020

Major/Degree: Bachelor of Journalism — Strategic Communication & Bachelor of Art — Graphic Design

Hometown: Taylorville, Illinois

Where you live now: Brooklyn, New York

Where do you work right now/what have you been up to since graduation? After graduation, I landed a job at BuzzFeed as a designer. I spent almost two years there, but I actually just left for a new opportunity. I loved the people at BuzzFeed so much, so it was incredibly hard to leave, but I've always wanted to design for a print magazine. I just started a new job at Hearst working as a designer for HGTV Magazine.

What's your favorite thing about the city you live in? I can't say enough wonderful things about the diversity of the people, food, and things to do here. NYC is the best! But I think my favorite thing is: no matter what you're interested in — you'll be able to explore that interest to the fullest here and also find a thriving community of people who share that interest! I love musicals, so I enter the Broadway Lottery for super cheap, last-minute tickets, and I've won for I think 11 shows now. I'm also a huge reader, and often when authors release a book, they will do a signing/talk at either The Strand or Greenlight bookstores. I love pasta, and there are so many pasta places within walking distance of my apartment that I'll probably never get to try them all. What are you passionate about? I'm passionate about trusting your instincts and pursuing what makes you happiest, no matter what outside messaging you might receive. It probably has a little to do with my stubbornness, but I have always had the attitude of "this is my only life, and I'm going to spend it doing what I care about." When I was a sophomore, I wanted to switch my major to art. I heard so many discouraging things from the world — how hard it is to find a job postgrad with an art major, how little I would be paid, and how you didn't need to get a major to do art. In the end, I decided to add the art major, and I am so immensely grateful. It has proven to be so valuable. The same thing happened recently with my dream to work in print magazines. People have been saying print is dying for the last twenty years, and when I mentioned my goal of working at a print publication, people would mention the risk, how that might make me a less desirable candidate when I eventually applied to another digital job, etc. Again, I thought: "Even if I get laid off in a year, it will still have been worth it to me to follow this dream and to have been able to do it for a short time." I think it's so important to trust yourself; no one knows you as well as you do, and I believe it's worth taking risks to go with your gut. Both of those examples were career/education focused, but I'm also really passionate about keeping my career in perspective and focusing my time and effort on my relationships with my friends and family. It takes setting boundaries at work and being intentional with my time to maintain close relationships with my college friends, travel back home to see family, etc., but those relationships are really the most important thing in the world to me.

What do you do in your free time? As soon as I get off work, you can find me in the park with a book. I love being outside (if it's nice outside and I'm not out there, I feel guilty about it?), and I love reading (favorite genre: memoirs). I also love going to museums and am working slowly but surely on visiting all of the museums NYC has to offer (so many!). I'm obsessed with board games, so you'll often find me begging my family and friends to play games with me. Other future career/life goals: I cannot wait to have a cat! That's my biggest life goal at the moment. Honestly, I have no clue how much longer I'll be in NYC, where I'll be after that, or what the rest of my life has in store for me. And I'm an extreme planner, so it's really taken a while to be okay with that. As cliche as it sounds, I think my biggest life goal at the moment is to keep experimenting, trying new things, and figuring out what makes me happy. I feel like so much of my 20s (and probably the rest of my life) will just be trial and error. I would love to eventually design book covers, start my own print company and take some time off and spend several months traveling. But, the only thing I'm really sure of is that I will be adopting that cat! What do you miss most about Mizzou? I just raved about the perks of living in a big city full of so many people and things to do, but at the same time, I do miss how small Mizzou felt. Even though it's a large university, you become such a part of your department/community/organizations, and it's such a comforting thing to always be surrounded by people you love and to be able to try and fail without (as many) consequences. I really miss being able to learn new things every day for the sake of learning; when I started my career, I still learned things, but my purpose was no longer to learn. Most of all, I miss being able to drive and see all of my friends in less than 10 minutes! What do you miss most about Theta? So much! I miss all of the women I met through Theta every day. I made the most amazing, lifelong friends in Theta and will never stop complaining about living a plane ride away from them now. I can confidently say I was impacted by each and every Theta I interacted with. I had never before met such a passionate, caring, hard-working group of women. I miss being able to see my Theta sisters every day, hear what everyone is up to and learn from them. What is one thing you took away from being a part of Theta in college that has shaped you into the woman you are today? (AKA: What impact has Theta left on you?) Theta taught me what true friendship looks like. I met so many women in Theta who amazed me with their selflessness and empathy, and being their friend gave me confidence and strength that I never would have imagined. I hope to one day be the friend that so many Thetas have been for me. Do you have a specific favorite Theta memory? My favorite Theta memory would have to be living in a Theta pass-down house called "Ham Hut" on Hamilton Way with the best group of gals. It was 2020, so the world looked pretty uncertain and scary at the time, but my time spent with the girls in Ham Hut was full of so much joy. We made charcuterie boards that could've won competitions, watched the Lost in Japan music video obsessively, cried over HSMTMTS, learned TikTok choreo like it was our job, and so much more. I miss that living situation every. single. day.


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