Final grad advice

Written by: Pamella Kellman

This has been a profound year for me.

My transition from junior to senior was anything but flawless. When I look back on the last year of my life, I can see I’ve changed immensely, and not just as a student. For me, the year was about finding myself and deciding what I wanted from my future, and while I’ve certainly received my bumps and bruises (and anxiety attacks) along the way, the path I’m forging is one I’m proud of.

I remember sitting down to write out a homework assignment as a third grader and crumpling up my sheet of paper, almost finished with the 20 sentences I had to write in cursive, in tears because I thought my handwriting didn’t look pretty enough.

While it took me longer than I would have liked, I’ve learned from my undergraduate experience that my greatest critic is myself. Since that time in third grade, I have definitely learned to put things in perspective and stop being so hard on myself. If I tell myself I’m not good enough, why would anyone else think differently?

This new mentality has opened up many doors for me. I never would have imagined working for a newspaper. Regardless of my having no editorial experience, I let my passions lead me to pursue a new course. What’s the harm in trying? The previous two years have been eye-opening for me working at the Buchtelite, but none of it would have happened had I not put aside my doubt in myself and taken the plunge.

The greatest piece of advice, besides believing in yourself, that I can give you in my departure is to seek out a mentor. Looking back, I realize that the positive relationships I’ve made have helped shape my own values.

The easiest way for me to do this was to apply to the Buchtelite. By joining groups and organizations and becoming involved, whether in extracurriculars or research, those types of people will make themselves apparent to you.

That being said, I would never have received the guidance I needed if someone had not held out a hand for me to grasp onto. The help I’ve received along my journey, from both peers and faculty, has been invaluable. While high school is about competing against a system, college, I think, is much more collaborative. We need to help each other grow and support each other, not only within our own disciplines, but also among disciplines.

I’m certain I will experience many more life-changing years. However, I believe that my experience at the University of Akron has definitely made me a stronger person, and I feel confident that I will meet new challenges head-on.

I wish you all the best of luck on your journeys – academic and otherwise – and hope that you empower yourself and pursue the future you see for yourself. Remember that an attitude of entitlement won’t get you very far, but hard work and integrity trump.

No matter what, the future will happen. What kind of future you make it is up to you.

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