Tech grads create website to help transition from college to real world

By Hallie Davis • Mar 18, 2012 

With inspiration including both “Braveheart” and Barney Stinson, the Nix Negatives team is working to help motivate and encourage its peers.

The group consists of five Tech graduates and one almost-graduate who undertook the same challenge for Lent: to be more positive by replacing negative thoughts with optimistic ones.

“It is definitely difficult,” said group cofounder Elizabeth Custy, from Lubbock. “But we’re supposed to give up difficult things.”

The idea for Nix Negatives was born when Custy graduated in December, she said. Though graduation is a happy time, it is quickly replaced with feelings of uncertainty about the future and sometimes even the present.

While talking to John Schnettgoecke, who would end up as cofounder, she said she realized the feelings were shared by others. The time of transition from college to the next step in life is tough.

“We latched onto each other in our post-grad life, facing these challenges,” said Custy, who is currently living in Austin and using her advertising degree to work on political campaigns. “It was surprising how similar our lives were.”

The websites began as a way for the group to connect and the members posted inspirational quotes and videos to encourage one another. Soon, others were interested, Custy said, and the team realized even they were not alone.

“The base of the idea is to stay positive,” said the group’s graphic designer, Elliot Salazar. “A lot of people can identify with that.”

Salazar’s story is different from the others’. He said he joined the job market, even though he was waiting for graduate school. At first, he was waitlisted. After a year of working as a graphic designer for the Tech School of Art, Salazar, from Lubbock, was accepted to the Maryland Institute College of Art. Though the waiting was hard, he said he saw the value in having a job and gaining experience.

“It doesn’t matter what job you have, or what location you’re at, if you feel incomplete,” Custy said.

To motivate their audience, Custy said the team focuses on five pillars of challenges in a post-grad world: self-improvement, friendship, romance, job search and finance. As the principle author of the Twitter account, she posts things such as articles about interviewing and ideas for activities to help keep readers on track to achieve their goals. The tweets offer advice about working hard and being successful, and even a few breaks from all the work with YouTube videos and random pictures of cats.

Though Custy said the team itself was Red Raider exclusive, Salazar said the message was not.

These pillars are universal, he said, and the worries and fears the group is taking aim at can be found in anyone going through any life changing transition.

Because of this, Custy said, the project will continue long after Lent’s 40 days are over.

“We’re hoping to impact people on a larger scale,” she said. “We can tell there’s a market.”

First, the Nix Negatives group will simply continue to inspire through social media. Custy said they would like to reach out to graduates from other schools and spread the message and will see where it goes from there.

“Post-grads need a support system,” Salazar said. “The transition is difficult, but if you stay positive, it’s helpful.”

Nix Negatives can be found on Twitter @NixNegatives, on Tumblr at http://40positives.tumblr.comand on Pinterest at

Read the story on the Daily Toreador HERE.