I graduated from Shepherd with a BS in Mass Communications in 2010 and started working for a small website hosting company in Reston VA. I liked the startup feel and the owner liked that I had enough smarts and skills to build a good team-driven workplace with the others there, while I was still fresh enough not to have learned bad habits from other companies. I worked there for 2 years until I moved to Denver Colorado to marry my wife. I’m now working for PR Newswire, creating websites and coding most of the day and I’ve also started my own business on the side, that I’m working on turning into a full-time thing because I want to retire young.
I’ve definitely appreciated the education I received from the Comm department, because, unlike a few of the other departments I was a part of, the professors in the department all had real-world experience. They’d actually been out there in the field, seeing what the technology and expectations are and helped to bring those things into the class room instead of just regurgitating theory. I’ve been back to visit once or twice and have seen the massive improvements the department now has at its disposal and am envious of those of you coming after me. If you feel cheated by your education in some way – don’t. I can tell you that you’re getting a better education than I did because I can see how the department is continually improving and I know how much the professors care. It’s up to you to raise the bar for yourself both in the classroom and in the real world.
One of my favorite memories was sitting in my Game Design class. Monica was asking me really tough questions on a game I’d created and was asking about things I hadn’t even begun to think of. I hated that moment. I felt like I was backed into a corner in front of the whole class with no way out, but looking back its one of my favorite memories. Monica wouldn’t let me slide like most of my other professors. She challenged me and didn’t think that just because I was an A/B student I should be allowed to slide through her class. She challenged me and forced me to think about the mundane and the complex. I grew a tougher skin and the rest of the class respected me when I came back with well-thought-out replies later on.
If I could pass on a few things I’ve learned briefly, both in college and post graduation I would share the following. The Law of Association says that the 6 people you spend the most time with will determine what your life will look like. Do you spend your time with those who push you and better you? I choose to surround myself with Mentors who have experience and success with where I want to go. They say the person who stops learning may already be dead. I choose to develop habits around learning and stretching my comfort zone just a little every day. Even after graduating, I am a student who is continually learning. How will you change yourself and how will you change the world?