*Cries Vitamin C ‘Graduation’ song*

You know Lindsey, your mom and I were talking the other day about you, and one thing that we both said was that we aren’t worried about you. You have the strength and knowledge to go so many places, so both of us are confident you’ll go far.”

These words of encouragement came from my grandmother, the other day when I was having by far one of the most exhausting and frustrating days of my undergraduate career. It was such a warm and thoughtful thing to say, however it didn’t negate the fact that I am two weeks away from graduating from Ohio University and still don’t have a job.

These are always the words we want to hear or feel, but at the end of the day, until you are put in the position to create a new life for yourself after four years of much of the same things, you’ll realize it sometimes isn’t enough.

Photo by Nick Oatley.

Back in the fall, I applied to my first job for after graduation and within two months of a waiting period, was given a job offer. I was ecstatic, because at the moment, it was exactly what I wanted to do. But after I started to do my research, and well quite frankly, weigh it up against other potential careers, I realized that maybe I was disregarding my full potential as a professional.

The job offer was a great opportunity for someone who was passionate about all those things, it just wasn’t me. The truth is, most of us soon-to-be-graduates might not always land our perfect, dream job immediately after college, but to me that shouldn’t also prohibit from shooting our shot.

What do we have to lose after all?

So I picked myself up, after feeling discouraged about turning that job down, and had to remind myself who I was again. This took longer than I’d hoped, and I ended up having to reach out to those who had in my eyes “made their dreams come to fruition.”

To be honest this might be my biggest piece of advice for those beginning their senior year. It is crucial to drop anyone who brings negative energy into your life, and isn’t on the same wavelength as you. The people you spend that last year with have the potential to uplift you, support you or detract you from what you came to college to do.

This is why I can’t possibly take credit for the blessings and connections I have had, because truly, I have the best support system ever. Between my friend who has relocated to Oregon for her dream job, sending me emails and giving me kind words, to my mom giving me pep talks, I never felt as if I was doing this alone. But I did come to realize that although my friends, boyfriend and family were all there for me, this always came down to my desires, wants and priorities.

Everything from the desired salary I would set for myself to whether I wanted to be in a sunny or cold place were determining factors in my next move (but not last move). I started to look at all my options and immediately found that it made the experience of searching much more enjoyable.

So as I reflect on my last days here, the good and the bad, I have to remember that they all shaped me to be who I am, and who I need to show those employers when I do get that job. I would be in complete denial if I told you I wasn’t terrified. Terrified that I don’t have a reliable source of income coming in soon, terrified that I have no idea how long this will last, or if one job offer may come before the next and it not be the main one that I want.

But what I have found is that I won’t be in control of all of those things, God will, and what is meant to be, will always be.

Life doesn’t start and end immediately after graduation, it really is just the beginning and so although I believe it is in your best interest to have that job lined up immediately after, sometimes it doesn’t go that way.

After writing #MogulsInTheMaking, I came to realize that all of those people I admired, didn’t have the same results or same timing for a lot of their life changes, and in fact didn’t experience some of their best moments until they had faith and let it all fall into place.

That being said, I think there is something so admirable about those who had their mind set, and took this next chapter of their lives on early. The people who received their job offers early and began planning the other parts of their lives, should always be commended, because anyone who has graduated or even stepped foot into their senior year, knows how stressful it can be planning for that and school.

It’s not easy, but it’s also not impossible. I found that it was extremely important to find some students who are people of color to share their post graduate plans because in this day in age it always feels good to see each other succeed.

At this point in the year if you ask any senior at any given time how they are feeling, it’s usually a lot of different feelings. There are good days and bad days, but it wouldn’t be normal if one didn’t feel somewhat overwhelmed in the beginning.

Here are three students who shared their feelings about embarking on their next chapter.

Jeffrey Billingslea

Moving to NYC to join Edelman Communications Marketing Firm on there Public Affairs Communications Team.

1.What is one word you would describe when it comes to how you are feeling about graduating? Fulfilled.

2.What do you wish you would’ve known then that you know now?
“I would have immersed myself into more academic programs by adding more certificates and additional business minor.”

3.Black Alumni weekend is in three years. Where are you trying to be at by then (professionally)? *What’s the glo up going to look like?*

I’m [looking] to have begun my dual MBA and Law Degree, in hopes of practicing corporate law.”


Michael Mathews

Working all summer back home and preparing himself to go to Spain in the fall to teach English. He plans to stay there for 1-2 years so that he can perfect his Spanish before he comes back to the U.S. to begin grad school.
1.  What is one word you would describe when it comes to how you are feeling about graduating? 

2.  What do you wish you would’ve known then that you know now?

“I wish that I would have found out about some opportunities and some resources before I was a senior.”
3. Black Alumni weekend is three years. Where are you trying to by then professionally? What’s the glo up going to look like? 

“Well, If I’m back in the States by then I would like to have graduated from graduate school with my masters in Speech Pathology with a job waiting on me in Cali. If I’m not back in the country that I’ll probably be still traveling and learning about different languages and cultures.”


Lauren Boulding

Attending Loyola University Maryland to pursue a Masters in Business Administration.

1.What is one word you would describe when it comes to how you are feeling about graduating?


2.What do you wish you would’ve known then that you know now?

“I wish I would’ve known that I didn’t want to work in the clinical side of Healthcare, so that I wouldn’t have wasted a semester studying topics that don’t interest me. However, I’m glad that I realized that I prefer the business aspect of the healthcare field.”

3.Black Alumni weekend is three years. Where are you trying to by then professionally? What’s the glo up going to look like? 
“I definitely hope that I will be working for a prestigious consulting firm. That’s my ideal job post graduation because it pays well, and I can gain a lot of experience working in different health care settings. The traveling part of consulting is also a plus. Hopefully by that time, I’ll be living in Atlanta or Houston! We’ll see!”

To think that these four years are almost over, genuinely makes me feel so many things.

Anxious. Upset. Nostalgic. Ready to go. Not Ready to Go. Excited. Grateful. Blessed.

We overlook the fact that we are simply here way too often. I remember coming in with some, only to lose that friend the next semester. I have endured so much during my time here, but I know I wouldn’t have half the strength I have now without those experiences.

So out of all those feelings, I mostly feel hopeful, because at the end of the day, we always have to move forward. I am beyond excited to see what all of my friends and classmates end up doing, and how they plan to elevate the fields they go into.

A lot of markets lack representation of African Americans or other people of color, but we are changing that. Black graduates are important, and we are innovating and changing the world with each of our talents.

So that being said, congratulations to all of the graduates, whether or not you are where you want to be right now.

The world is ours.