Thursday will bring a host of changes for me as I will officially graduate from N.C. State University. A very exciting, yet, nerve-wracking time for sure. I always knew the next step for me after finishing elementary, middle and high school. There has always been a plan in place. Now that I am graduating college, I am not exactly sure what the next step is. There is no real plan set in stone.
This time last year, I thought I had a plan in place. I decided to try my hand at grad school. I believed it would help me narrow down what I want to do. But, after a nice lecture about it in one of my classes this semester, I realized grad school is, more or less, for people who do know what exactly they want to pursue career wise.
My problem is not finding a place to fit in somewhere. My problem is I have too many likes and interests. I guess that is a good problem to have. During the past several years, my mind has gone back-and-forth – and back again – between going into the sports, parks and recreation, journalism and even music fields. I am a sport management major with a minor in journalism. I interned at Duke Homestead State Historic Site this past summer, which falls under the parks and recreation field. I am also passionate about music and play clarinet in a local orchestra. One great thing about my degree, however, is there are so many different avenues I can take with it, which is a big plus.
There have been many changes for me personally in the past several years as well. When I first stepped onto campus, I had nine good friends from high school who joined me. A couple more the year after. We, generally, kept in contact the first year or so. The only way I “keep in touch” with those friends today is through Facebook – but even that is a stretch. I did not even know one of my friends got married until I saw a post on Facebook. On the bright side, I have met some great people and formed some awesome relationships while in college. Particularly with people who majored in sport management like I did. I’m very thankful for that.
While at N.C. State, I have had some amazing opportunities come my way as well. One component of my major that really helped me develop as a young professional was volunteering. Now, I have always loved to volunteer, but I had some different opportunities in college that I may not have received otherwise. The most substantial being Senior Games State Finals. If you do not do anything else in the Triangle-area this fall, it is a must whether you volunteer or attend as a spectator. Senior Games allows for people age 55+ to compete in Olympic-style competition, from table tennis, to track and field, and even the performing arts. This experience was truly amazing to take part in.
I was also afforded the opportunity to have exciting adventures while on campus. In 2011, I was able to see Pres. Obama in person at Reynolds Coliseum. I will never forget missing class to get tickets to the event (whoops), and hearing him speak in person. The media frenzy and the packed house of excited folks eager to see the sitting President of the United States speak.
Another such opportunity was a lecture by Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebook. Hughes’ lecture was right in my wheelhouse, talking about media and the need to invest in media that are considered “old and outdated” today in an effort of preservation. For example, Hughes currently heads The New Republic, which is a historical publication. The last of these opportunities came just a few months ago when I attended a talk with J.B. Bernstein and was able to meet him. He is the mastermind behind the “Million Dollar Arm” campaign and the inspiration for the Disney film of the same name.
I could sit here and write a novel about all my experiences at N.C. State. Although it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this point, I feel my time in college was truly rewarding. Both in the educational sense and life experiences. I will forever be grateful for my time spent in Raleigh. Here’s to the future and new doors being opened!
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