Many students attended the “Young Alumni Panel: Success After Graduation” session where they listened to the advice given to them by the alumnis in the room. This particular session was held by online content manager, Kareem McMichael. The recent graduates who spoke on their journeys were alumni Briana Dodd from Delta and Asha Gilbert from Savannah Morning News. Both of these graduates spoke on the hardships they faced throughout their college careers and how they found the endurance to keep moving forward.
As the session proceeded experienced alumni Ms. Serena Garcia of Delta joined in on the conversation and gave her feedback on what she believed every JMC student should be doing in order prepare themselves for the ever-changing world of communications.
“The question you need to ask yourself is this: Is this my hobby or is this my career? This is a question you need to ask yourself and know the answer to it immediately. If this is your career choice, then you will expect more from yourself and do more,” said Garcia.
Garcia stayed for the remainder of the panel along with other colleagues as they persevered on with the lectures on self-endurance and moving forward.
“I see myself as a very confident woman, which is why I found myself absorbing what Ms. Garcia had to say, but I related to Ms. Dodd entirely as she spoke,” said Clara Faith, graduating senior of the audio and video program. “I’m a young mom that is also in college. I understand where Ms. Dodd is coming from when she spoke on the struggles of trying to be a parent and a full-time student. It’s harder than most could ever realize until you’re doing it. Life gets in the way of plans we set for ourselves, it happens, but the important part is about whether you decide to keep going. There are classes that I’ve failed, and I’ve had to retake, but I didn’t let these bumps in the road stop me, and I’m not going to give up when I’ve made it this far, and I don't expect any other Tiger to give up either.”
Danielle Birzer, graduating journalism senior said, “After going to that session, I think it was really nice to hear other perspectives from individuals who are already in the industry who have the same degree or similar degrees. I had the pleasure to work alongside Asha Gilbert this past summer in my internship at Savannah Morning News. Briana Dodd was my roommate when we studied abroad in Panama as well. To see them both grow even more in their careers over time, is amazing to see and inspiring.
Although a little more pointed than my peers, Ms. Garcia has tread the same paths as most of the students that came before me and will be after me. This past year was one of the hardest years for me. Last March and April I lost my mother and grandmother, and I was outed [LGBT issues] in February. There was a point when I had to worry about my housing and whether or not I was going to have enough funds to continue school. Life quickly became too much to handle, but I was able to push through it. As I get ready to walk the stage this semester, I know I will be heading to American University to study for my grad studies. I’m currently obtaining the remaining funds I will need for traveling to attend school.”
Birzer added, “For future seniors, I want them to know that your mental health is so important. You need to keep checking on your mental state, especially when you enter. Also, practicum is not that hard, but it is a lot of tedious work that you’ve done before, so don't psych yourself out. Understand also that in your senior year, your professors are just as stressed as you are, and you can't expect perfection from them. They’re tired too.”