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Koni’s Quips: My Graduation Reflection & Advice For 2014 Graduates

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Every May, people all across the country are graduating from high school, college and graduate school. I call it “graduation month” because that’s as and when most people graduate. However, I only had a May graduation for high school. I graduated in December for undergrad and grad school. And thanks to May, December graduates such as myself don’t get as much shine! Since it’s “graduation month,” I decided to reflect on all my graduations and share some things for all you new 2014 graduates.

High School
Ah, high school graduates. So young. So hopeful. People will be asking you what you’re going to be doing next. Will you go to college? Will you go straight into the work force? Will you join the army? I went straight to college and didn’t regret my decision at all. However, if you’re feeling a little lost, try talking to someone you know who went to college and someone you know who didn’t go. It’s also not a bad idea to consider community college. I have friends who went to community college first and it saved them some money and they got their core credits out of the way.

Something to remember: It doesn’t matter who you were in high school, you’re going to change in some way. For example, if you were shy, it may be easier to come out of your shell in college. Embrace it and change in a positive way.

Undergrad
I loved Mississippi University for Women (the W). I made a lot of friends, joined a sorority, made connections and, of course, I learned a great bit inside and outside the classroom. You’re faced with similar questions you heard graduating high school. What’s next? Are you afraid of not being able to get a job? My answer to all of that is to go to grad school and avoid responsibility like some of us did. Just kidding. Sorta. I actually decided I was going to grad school during my senior year at the W, but I took a break before I went. I was hoping to make money before I moved, but it was difficult just like it is for me now.

Something to remember: Stay connected with your college friends as well as teachers, former bosses and advisors. Your network is very important and you’ll never know when you’ll need help or advice.

Grad School
Grad school is a good way to focus on what you really want to do. Some people change career paths completely and some get more of a detailed education in the field they’re already in. Just like my time at the W, I enjoyed my time at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). I chose public relations because I got my bachelors degree in communication and the degree was so broad. I learned a lot about PR by focusing on the field in 30 credits, which will help me in my career. Oh, and I suggest starting your job search earlier than you think you should start. Trust me.

Something to remember: You made it! You got through the research, the papers, comps and your thesis/internship/project! You did something big and you should be proud! You may have moments where you think it wasn’t worth it, but trust me. It was.

Graduating is an important transition no matter what phase you’re in. Remember that YOU define this time in your life. You may see people like me complain about not being able to find a job or complaining about the job they do have, but don’t let it discourage you. Things have a way of working out.

Congratulations and go get ‘em!

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