Final Reflections of a Graduate

It’s all over.

No more commuting, no more projects, no more letter grades, no more tuition…

Earning a masters degree felt more intense than earning a bachelors because I was working full-time 40 hours a week for the first two years. The commute to downtown Chicago alone fatigues one who is coming from the suburbs. The classes were predominately at night, from 7:00PM to 9:30PM. I can recall crying near on a few occasions from sheer exhaustion and grief.

If you ask my family they will tell you that I was tough, and I was. I have been in the work force for nine years, I know I’m an adult and that’s how I approached the masters program. It was like a big job interview to me, I wanted to show what I am capable of as a professional and so my projects received high marks because I treated each project like a careerist would: an opportunity to show what I’m made of.

From day one my husband saw me go from a sort of ingénue and become a more seasoned pro. He was like one of my advisors, because he himself is in the field I want to enter. He kept me in touch with what’s at the front lines, and he kept me going through some of the hardest times.

The final year as a married lady was probably my favorite. For one, I left my 40 hours a week position, so I got more sleep. I also knew what I wanted to do and did it. I had learned the ropes, I was interning at the prestigious Starcom MediaVest Group and my capstone project kicked butt, exceeding many people’s expectations. I was really proud of myself in my last year, I felt more in control and less afraid. I enjoyed every minute and I took chances!

Martin Stock, delivers the keynote address to the School of Communication at the Gentile Arena on May 7, 2015. (photo by Natalie Battaglia)

One of the speakers at graduation was Martin Stock, CEO of ad agency Cavalry. He was hilarious and insightful in his address to us. He emphasized doing what you love and that’s probably the hardest thing to do. You are taking a risk doing what you love. It could be in a field that is very competitive and hard to get into. It could be a field that is unstable and with little benefits. If you’re not lucky enough to know what it is you are good at, and even if you do, you should do what gives you satisfaction. The worst thing, Stock said, was never realizing your potential. I never want to lose that spark that makes me want to try my very best. I never want to lose that spark that gives me the passion to develop amazing new things. I never want to feel like I’m in a trap or in a dead end job.

After 7 years in higher education I know myself better, and no matter what path I take, I’m going to give my all and enjoy the experience.

Now it’s onto the next chapter. Time to set the world on fire. 🔥

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Scott Hess says:

    Nice! Funny, Marty Stock was one of the last guys I interviewed with before I took the Spark job. He was at Draft, and I ended up turning down their offer to take the Spark job. I liked him and how plain-spoken he was.

    Congrats, kid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Small world. Thank you Scott.

      Like

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