I Graduated College…What’s Next?

On Saturday, May 9, 2020, I graduated Cum Laude from East Tennessee State University with my Bachelor of Science in Media and Communication with a concentration in Advertising/Public Relations and minor in Marketing. Virtual commencement may not have been what I’d imagined, but it was still a nice way to honor the Spring 2020 graduates. It included some musical performances, inspiring messages from our dean and president, a special message from Dolly Parton, and the conferring of degrees. My family decorated the house with balloons, streamers, and banners, and a dear family friend came to *socially distance* watch the stream with us and cheer as my name was called.

I’m done with undergrad, now what? It’s the first day of summer break and I already checked three times to make sure I didn’t have homework due. I’d say it’s going to take some time before this graduate thing really sets in. When it comes to what’s next, I’m really leaning on listening to God. Due to the unstableness of the job market in the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided maybe searching for a full-time position wasn’t the next journey on my path. I applied to a lot of positions and am keeping my eyes open, but I’m not betting on that due to the unknown nature of the world. My dream is to work for Disney after all, and the parks are still closed with no open date in sight.

After much consideration and persuasion from professors, I decided to apply to graduate school. If you would have told me I’d be really considering this at the beginning of my senior year, I probably would’ve called you crazy. The pandemic has really shaken things up though and my perspective has changed. On April 24, I was offered acceptance into the Brand and Media Strategy, M.A. program at East Tennessee State University! It seems like this is the next step that God is leading me towards. Although it’s not quite what I imagined I would be doing next, I am excited to be back on campus in the Fall! I already love the department, know a good amount of the incredible professors, and am excited to dig into more of what exactly I want to pursue in the field of media and communication.

While it’s not exactly the next step I thought I’d take in my journey, it doesn’t change my overall goals. I want to work for Disney. Graduate school will only help me achieve that dream. I’ll gain experiences and knowledge that will help set me apart from the competitions and get a better sense of exactly what position/field I want to be making magic in one day. It’s a good reminder that the plan is never mine. It’s God’s plan for me and God’s plan is perfect. I just have to listen hard to match my plan to God’s.

As far as this summer goes, I’m looking forward to taking a bit of a break. I’ve been taking 15 credit hours a semester on top of almost always working two or more jobs, so I think I deserve some time to rest. I’ll still be working for FCC-JC and hope to continue working on social media for TAC. Hopefully, COVID-19 calms down and I can get some travel in. I’d love to visit some friends across the country and hopefully get the Walt Disney World celebratory trip I’d had planned with my DCP roommate, Sam.

For now, I’ll keep taking things day by day. That’s all we really can do! It’ll take some adjusting to get used to not being in school, so hopefully, I can find things to fill the time. I see some Disney+ binge sessions in my future! I’m also hoping to work on some digital art and hand lettering with my iPad like I’ve been wanting to do since last summer. I’ll also be taking care of the four stray cats that are calling our yard home…who knew putting out one bowl of food would attract so many cats? I’ll also be video chatting friends as much as possible, and hoping it’s safe enough to see them in person soon.

I’m hoping, for everyone’s sake, that summer is a good season. One of healing, connection, and togetherness. It’s been a lonely, scary few months. As the sun comes rolling in, I’m hoping so does healing. Whatever comes next, I know there’s a plan for it.

❤ / Bailey, B.S. 🙂

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