Insecurity, worry, tranquility, acceptance, and excitement. What do all these adjectives have in common?
They are the series of emotions college seniors feel leading up to graduation.
Most college seniors are often unsure about where they will go and what exactly they will do once they’re thrown out into the real world with only a diploma to prove their worth. Over the course of their four, or maybe five years, at Ole Miss, seniors have learned who they are as people and who they want to be once they enter the professional world.
In the days leading up to graduation, seniors are getting ready to walk across the Grove stage where they have spent so much time to receive their diplomas and officially become Ole Miss alumnae.
“I can’t believe how fast it has all gone by,” said Elise Jones, an upcoming Meek School of Journalism and New Media integrated marketing communications graduate. “It seemed like yesterday that I was being dropped off at my dorm by my parents and was first feeling some type of freedom.”
Ashley Quagliaroli, an upcoming Meek School graduate from Atlanta, Georgia, is graduating with a double major in IMC and political science. As she gets ready to leave Oxford, she has decided to take a different route than immediately entering the work force. Quagliaroli will have a gap year between graduate school so that she can gain more experience in her field before pursuing a law degree.
“I’m so excited to be able to pursue my love for journalism and also be able to pursue my other love of law,” she said. “I have always struggled deciding between the two before I realized that maybe I am just meant to do both and find the happy medium later.”
Another upcoming Meek School graduate, Rachel Reimers, who is graduating with a degree in journalism, will continue her education at the University of Georgia before joining the workforce. Many college seniors are choosing to continue their education after gaining their undergraduate degree, hoping to find better paying jobs or higher ranking positions in their field.
“I’m hoping that by gaining my MBA, I will become more valuable to the professional world,” Reimers said, in regard to pursuing her MBA.
Elise Jones, an upcoming Meek School graduate with an IMC degree, has decided to move to Dallas, Texas, after graduation. Jones will be working as a marketing coordinator for an insurance company.
As Elise gains real world experience in Dallas, she hopes to become an entrepreneur.
“I’m extremely excited to make the move to Dallas,” she said. “I’ve loved my time here, but I’m ready to put everything I’ve learned to real use. This is a completely new chapter in my life, but I know I’m ready.”
Murphy Butler, an upcoming Meek School IMC senior, has also decided to join the workforce. The New Jersey native will begin an internship with a travel lacrosse program in his home state.
“I’m excited to put my degree to use and combine my two passions, sports and marketing,” Butler said. “Before I begin my internship, I am going to relax for a little while and visit with friends and family.”
As Butler gains more experience in his field, he hopes to start a travel lacrosse program and become an entrepreneur like his mother, Chris Murphy.
“I’ve grown up with my mother having her own successful business and my father finding success in the sports world,” he said. “I’m hoping to one day be able to find a way to bring these two things together for myself.”
Chloe Riley, an upcoming Meek School graduate with a degree in journalism and a specialization in public relations, has decided to move to New York to become a business analyst. Though Riley’s degree is in journalism, she has found that her career path may not always completely align with her college degree.
“I’m so excited to work with this company,” she said, “although what I’ll be doing is not quite journalism.”
As she begins to pack her belongings and say her good-byes, Riley is starting to realize how quickly her time at Ole Miss as gone by.
“I can’t believe that I’m about to be in the real world,” she said. “Leaving Ole Miss is so scary, because so much is changing in my life right now. I’m excited, but all this change is intimidating,” Riley said about her upcoming move to New York.
As college seniors graduate and move on to their next project in life, many are left in awe by how quickly their time at Ole Miss has gone by. From spending their first Saturdays in the Grove, to staying up all night for finals, upcoming graduates look back with fond memories of their time in Oxford.
As Riley gets closer to her move, she offers words of wisdom to fellow Meek students: “Enjoy your time here because it’s fleeting,” she said. “Talk to your professors and really get to know them. Find an internship doing something you’re passionate about, and try not to stress too much about the future, because I promise everything will turn out the way it should.”
For more information about graduation, visit the University of Mississippi Commencement web page.
- Story by Nancy Jackson