Archive for December, 2008

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: UGA graduation 2008

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It was the day I’ve eagerly anticipated for the past four years: my graduation from UGA. As I sat with my fellow students at the Grady commencement ceremony in Hodgson Hall on Dec. 18, there was a mixed sentiment in the air of excitement and uncertainty.  The speakers’ words of praise and encouragement were dotted with reminders that we were entering one of the toughest job markets in recent history. I wanted nothing more than to forget that fact, at least for a while, but they were right to discuss it: it was the truth.

Keynote speaker Carolyn Tieger, borrowing a phrase from Dickens, captured the moment perfectly: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” She added, “When you tell people that you graduated in 2008, you will certainly get their attention!” She went on to discuss the importance of perserverance in the job search, offering several useful tidbits of advice. She even reassured us that it’s okay to live with parents for a little while, which came as a relief to me since that is where I am right now.

If anything, my time at college has taught me perserverance and humility. I’ve received bad grades on projects and papers I’ve poured my heart into. I’ve been turned down for internships, jobs and other opportunities. I’ve made mistakes. But I’ve also learned to turn these failures into learning opportunities and, in fact, not to think of them as failures, but necessary experiences on the road to success. It’s that old cliche: “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

Thanks to my wonderful family and friends, I had a great graduation week. My parents came up and took us to a wonderful dinner at Last Resort. My 12-year-old brother (and equally antsy boyfriend) sat patiently through the graduation ceremony. My friend Becky and I had a joint graduation party in our hometown, and were showered with gifts and kind words from our amazing family friends. Each time I was asked if I had a job lined up, I was able to smile and simply say, “Nope!” They believe in me, and that’s all that matters right now. (Click here for some more pictures from graduation).

Congratulations to all other recent graduates, and thank you to all of my wonderful supervisors, professors and colleagues who have encouraged me along the way.

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