I have had the privilege of sitting down and talking about life after graduation with a former honors student and co-worker of mine, Emily Ghena. In her time at Grand Canyon University, Emily went above and beyond in her studies as a biology major while balancing being a student leader and worker. Between working 20 hours a week, attending class for 10 and studying for up to 15, there was hardly ever enough time in the day!
As she reflected on her senior year, Emily said that she was saddened by the amount of her peers that were filling their last moments in college with stress and dwelling over the upcoming changes.
“Senior year we realize we are going through phase of it all ending,” she says. “And as each month passes, people deal with it differently: some people shut down, some disengage and others just get emotional or stressed. It made me sad– I wanted to do more to celebrate all of my accomplishments that year. I tried to maintain this attitude.”
Graduating is hard, and she wanted her main focus to be celebrating the hard work and dedication that she had invested in the last four years. This, and planning ahead, would be her advice for anyone who is graduating soon– to enjoy your last year and celebrate graduating. She talked about how surreal it was to walk across the stage, and she really commended GCU for having such special and efficient graduation ceremonies. Having her family fly out and spend her graduation with her was another special moment of senior year for Emily, and she was grateful to have the time to relax after her classes ended.
So what now? Though she celebrated her accomplishments, Emily did not fail to work hard at securing a job and a place to live before she walked across the stage. She said it was definitely something of a challenge to make sure all of your ducks are in a row before you’re, shall we say, “kicked out” of GCU. She works now as a Program Design Specialist for GCU, specifically for all biology majors. Her plans for the next year are to start her MBA with GCU while working full time, and she recently received the quarterly PDS award for her work!
One thing Emily said about her transition is that being a student worker at the Honors College really helped develop her skills and prepare her for the full-time job she currently has. From time management to project execution and collaboration, Emily was able to take advantage of her many roles to learn as much as she could from her peers and mentors to prepare her for life after graduation.
“Adulting isn’t easy– from coming home to a roach-infested apartment to being financially self-sufficient—it can be a lot to figure out,” Emily says. “But as long as you surround yourself with people who are at the same pace, planning ahead and trying to enjoy those last moments at GCU, it is completely doable.”
To learn more about becoming a part of our motivated and ambitious community of honors students, visit our website or click the Request More Information button on this page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.