To The 2019 High School Graduates

To The 2019 High School Graduates

You've graduated high school. What's next?

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There is so much more in store for you.

Whether you're sad to end the best 4 years of your life or have been ready since middle school to enter the real world, there are things to remember.

Your life has not ended. You won't lose your friends of 18 years when you go off to college. You can make this last summer the best yet (because trust me, you'll never have a free summer again). You CAN be upset about ending a chapter of your life. It's okay to miss the walls you've walked through for so long as you move on to new walls, a college campus.

DON'T define your future with the last four years. You can remake yourself. You can be that person who never found their place in high school but excelled in every way in college. Who's to say what the face of the future looks like? Your parents? Your teachers? They don't decide how you plan to take on the rest of your life. Only you have the power to either continue your success, or change it's path for the better.

Do not dismiss the memories, the friends, the education that has made you who you are today. You may have hated high school, despised the people you spent every day with, or always believed this time of your life wasn't what you amounted to. But all in all, every single person you have met has affected the way you've lived. Every one and everything makes a difference in your world. Be thankful for them, whether or not they've been a positive light in your life. They may have been the reason you don't act certain ways or do certain things, and that's a lesson to be grateful for.

Take your education SERIOUSLY. Once you enter college, there are no late turn-ins, minimal second chances, and one shot to do it right the first time. Learning is a privilege. Remember, not everyone is able to attend a Big-Ten School, play a sport in college, or even attend community college. For many people, there is much riding on their education. So, if you have the chance, take it. Be the smartest you've ever been. Get involved in your school's activities and clubs. Get as much as you can out of this experience.

And lastly, take time to enjoy everything you do. Life goes by too fast. Take a mental picture when you're in a moment you know you will miss one day. Laughing with your friends in the dorms. Eating microwave noodles and pop tarts for dinner. Going out with the new friends you've made. Every tailgate you've been to, not including the ones you can't remember (we've all been there). Moments that may seem meaningless at the time are the ones you will think about when you're out of college and pushed into an environment of a 9-5 work day, bills ALWAYS, and vacation days in single digits.

Just breathe, enjoy your life, and look forward to your future.

What's up next for you? You decide.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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I'm Here To Stay, Chicago

I thank DePaul University and my lucky stars for the chance to stay.

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I graduated from DePaul last year with a BA in Public Relations and Advertising. During my undergraduate career, the advice of one professor stuck with me: to get some 'real world' experience before going back to graduate school because so you're able to bring your experiences into the classroom. I knew I wanted to go back to grad school at some point, but my original plan was two to three years down the line.

But, as usual, life didn't go as planned.

I was fortunate enough to receive one year of OPT (Optional Practical Training), a program that allows international students to work for up to one year in the US after graduating. I was lucky to land my dream internship, working as the social media manager for a national non-profit working to end youth homelessness across the country. I grew so much in this position and learned about myself in ways I couldn't have imagined.

However, one hurdle I couldn't overcome as I looked for permanent work, was sponsorship for working past the expiration of my OPT. As I was nearing the reality of not being able to stay, I felt a great deal of anxiety over the future and what it would hold for me. I was torn between having to leave the US to live in Canada or staying to pursue a master's degree. I chose the latter after meeting with a professor I admired, who pushed me to enroll. It was the best decision I have made in a long time.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019, will go down as one of my happiest days ever. It was the day I received my letter of acceptance to the MA in Public Relations and Advertising program at the College of Communication.

As I write my intent to enroll email to the office of Graduate Admission, I am filled with a mix of emotions. I am excited for this new chapter in my academic life, thrilled to continue living in Chicago, but nervous for the challenges I will face. I know that graduate school will for sure kick my butt, but I am so ready to spearhead the journey ahead.

I'm officially a Double Demon and Chicago won't be getting rid of me anytime soon.

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