Education through basketball: An Interview with Sarah Hope (COM’17)

Sarah Hope, senior and women’s basketball player at Boston University, is getting ready to finish her college career. Looking back on her experience as a Terrier, Hope finds much commonality between her COM PR concentration and her education through Division I college basketball.

What made you choose public relations as a major?

You know, I just sort of fell upon it as a major. I knew I liked the communications field, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to major in something that I could maybe relate back to basketball one day, and so I took Intro to Pubic Relations. I loved the class and decided to stick with it.

How do you balance your PR major with playing basketball?

I mean it is definitely manageable. At some points it gets very overwhelming, but, for the most part, I work hard and do find time to balance both. At first it was a huge shock. I did not realize how much work it would be to balance both, but as the years progressed I found my groove and was able to learn how to do it. Time management is the biggest skill I have learned in college due to being a student athlete.

What else have you learned from being a student-athlete?

I have definitely learned patience; something I did not expect to learn. It takes a lot of time and effort to miss school and be able to participate in group projects in and out of the classroom. But I am thankful that I have been tasked with learning to balance these two sides of my life because I know life is a balancing act post-grad and I know I will be prepared.

Sarah Hope, the recipient of the Terrier Pride Award and Moment of the Year at the 2017 Student-Athlete Banquet.

What has been your favorite class you have taken as a PR major?

I have had two classes that I have learned so much in. Professor Clark’s CM331 class was the first of the two that were majorly impactful for me. It was fun, but I learned so much. The skills I learned in her class I was able to carry through every other class I have taken in COM. I never expected to continue to reference my work from the [CM331] class, but I always look back at it for formatting questions and examples. She had a way of making really dry material fun and interesting.

What is the other class that you loved?

Crisis Management with Professor Joseph. It was a really awesome class. It incorporated all real-life examples and situations of what companies did in certain crises, and I loved to learn about that and see what public relations is like in the real world. I wasn’t sure before taking his class that public relations was the right major for me, but after that I knew I was in the right place.

What else did you love about that class?

I found it crazy how far in advance crisis PR managers have to plan. You have to be so creative and think on your feet, and out-think every possible crisis scenario. I don’t know if I am cut out to do that as a job, but it was fascinating to learn about.

It doesn’t surprise me that you loved that class because doesn’t basketball require you to always think on your feet?

Wow, I guess I never thought of it that way, but you are right. I am always planning for different scenarios and running through what could happen in class. Although a crisis in basketball pales in comparison to the company crises those managers deal with, each small one on the court does relate in a way to one in the corporate world. I guess that is maybe why I love public relations so much, because it relates so well to basketball and to that world that I already love so much.

Medway native Hope makes her mark at BU, setting an all-time program 3-pointer record with 253 career baskets.

Where do you see yourself going after graduation?

Oh, the dreaded question. I truly have no idea at this point. I am torn between doing something in the public relations field or becoming a basketball coach. I would ideally coach at the collegiate level, but getting your foot in the door is the hardest part. I might try and get a job in communications with a team and see where that takes me. All I know is that I love both and want to do something with one or the other.

Are you sad to be leaving BU? What advice do you have for all undergraduate students who still have time left?

Oh, of course. I cannot believe I am about to graduate. BU has given me the best four years of my life, and it goes by in the blink of an eye. My advice to everyone is to soak it all in, and do as many things as possible. I still remember walking into orientation and now I am counting down my last few days here. It is so bittersweet. But, I am so thankful to have had the college experience I have. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


Megan Carmichael is a student at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA). Her studies and areas of interest include sales and digital marketing, and integrated marketing communications. Megan is currently working with LHL Communications, and serves as a peer mentor for incoming Boston University hospitality students. Beyond her studies in SHA, Megan is pursuing a minor in Communications at BU’s College of Communications.

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