GRADUATION AND GRATITUDE

Two years.

Four semesters.

Endless life lessons.

Invaluable relationships built.

I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of North Florida on May 1, 2020 with my Bachelor of Science in communication with an emphasis in public relations, and a minor in marketing. Though my graduation was a bit unconventional and did not involve a commencement ceremony or other celebrations, it was nonetheless a very sweet and memorable time.

The last semester of my college career took a turn I was not expecting, and experiences I thought I would treasure for the rest of my life were suddenly taken away from me. But graduating in the midst of a pandemic taught me that my accomplishments and successes are not lessened by the lack of a public celebration.

When I first transferred to UNF, I was insecure, full of doubt and unaware as to what I could even do with my degree. I questioned myself, my worth and my ability to become a successful communication professional.

But as I progressed through college, I gained confidence. I was provided with so many opportunities that gave me relevant experience. Through every job, internship and position, I fell more in love with my field. I was awarded Outstanding Student in Public Relations and had the opportunity to serve as president of PRSSA. The advanced education and the hands-on opportunities made a tremendous impact on my college experience, and will benefit me as I transition into the professional field.

I will forever be grateful to the professors, classmates, supervisors and peers who poured into me, encouraged me and challenged me every step of the way. UNF is a smaller university comparatively, which allows for deeper and more intimate relationships. I gained lifelong friends and mentors who made a tremendous impact on my college experience.

I’m now facing what every college student fears the most: what comes after graduation. I know I will soon be overwhelmed with the dreaded questions every college grad encounters (“What’s your plan? Where do you want to work? What are you going to do?”), and although I don’t have the answers right now, I’m confident in myself and my ability to succeed. The class of Spring 2020 is facing challenges no one has prepared us for, which will only make us come out of this stronger.

Here’s to two years of growing, persevering, maturing, learning, experiencing and overcoming. I will never forget my time at UNF and look forward to what the next chapter of my life will bring.

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