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Tips to you from Roanoke College Alumni

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Written by Kaelyn Spickler

The post-grad world can be scary, intimidating, or uncertain for any graduate. With your well-earned college degree, you have paved your way to your first 9:00-5:00 job or to signing your first lease for an apartment. These new changes may come quick for some, and for others you may have to alter your path before you get to where you want to, and that’s okay too. Hopefully with the guidance you have received here at Roanoke College and all that you have accomplished here, it’s a little bit more exciting than scary. There have been many, many RC alum before you, and here are some words from a few of them: 

“I think the biggest thing to remember when you graduate is that your young age can be a serious advantage! The key is being ADAPTABLE, and while you might have a “dream job” in mind, also remember that you’re young and you might have a few stops on the way to that job. Keep an open mind, have a good sense of humor and don’t rule anything out; you never know when something might fall into your lap that’s a little different than you anticipated. You’re young, you’ve got the stamina to pick it up and run with it!” -Emma Grosskopf- ‘19

“Everything happens for a reason. Something we can learn is to never take things for granted. Live in the now and enjoy the small things because sometimes things last for just a few seconds, even the things we thought would last forever. Stay strong, Class of 2020, and best wishes.” -Jose Alvarado ‘18

“I am currently a first-year grad student and have wondered why I have not yet made the connections here (at graduate school) that I made at Roanoke. 

While I reflected on this, I realized that some of my best friends at Roanoke and I suffered a tragedy our first year and our response to that is what bonded us for the rest of our college experience. It does not only take a tragedy to bring people together, but I have learned that sometimes your chapters of your life story get written without your input, and that’s just how my first year at Roanoke went. 

I would NEVER wish a tragedy upon anyone-but as life has it, tragedies happen to us all at some time in our lives. My friends and I came out of the tragedy together and the only reason that we did was because we clung to each other. We learned how to show up for each other and we quickly realized that there is no time like the present to tell each other, ‘I love you.’

While life after Roanoke is a new adventure and making friends in the working world is harder than anticipated, I hope that you have moments of clinging to those you love to look back on. I hope you laugh until your stomach hurts and that you have at least a few beautiful moments that make your heart full while remembering those you encountered at Roanoke. (And all the late nights taking laps during studying around Club Fintel.) 

The rest of your time together on campus was ripped from your hands…and that’s a tragedy. While I would never wish this upon you, I can’t wait to hear the stories and the ways you figured out how to bond despite the pain and hurting. In every friendship you create and cultivate from now on, I hope you learn how to show up for each other and learn to say “I love you” when you have the chance and I hope you learn to appreciate the time you have with those in your life. While we do not always get a say when tragedy strikes, how we love each other while picking up the pieces becomes our response- that our love for each other will always win.” –Hayley Moe ‘18

 “Dear Seniors,

2020 has shown us more than ever that, though we may try to control our future and prepare for every step we want to take, many times life has a completely different plan and we learn how to pivot. You being in this graduating class makes you an expert in pivoting, more so than the rest of us. You’ve adapted to a complete reconstruction of education in a matter of months and are now the first to enter a rather uncanny job market. 

But, even knowing uncertainty lies ahead, be confident in the skills you’ve acquired throughout your four incredible years at Roanoke College. You are so ready for this next walk of life, whatever your path may be. Taking a gap year? Live it up. Already have a job? Kill it. Not sure if your degree lines up with what you want to do? Try it anyways. Move to the city you want to be in and be great in everything you do because that’s what RC has trained you to do. ‘Do well in life as you do good in life.’ – Prez. Maxey” -Emily Hecht ‘19

“Take a chance. You are at the beginning of your journey and have just spent four years learning what it means to be you in this world. Take a chance and give back. Join a service corps, work at a non-profit, take a chance or a job that challenges you. Do something that gives back to the world. I wanted to go straight to graduate school, and I ended up taking a year off and working for my church. It was one of the best years of my life so far. I learned so much in my year off and was much more ready to continue to pursue my dreams afterwards!” -Ben Cowgill ‘17