What Does Graduation Mean To You?

Graduating college means a lot to me for many reasons. It means I am a part of a statistic that is relatively small in comparison to the rest of the United States, that I have more options in my career field, and that I attained a personal achievement. However, the reason that trumps all others is that I am the first in my immediate family to graduate from college.

Growing up, I never had an option to not go to college; it was always a part of my plan. Being from a small town in New Jersey, I knew I needed to escape the small town life and go somewhere new – college was my chance.

I decided on Towson University, where I majored in Mass Communications with a double track in public relations and advertising and a double minor in business administration and marketing (a mouthful, I know). Throughout my college career I was a sister of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, an initiate of Order of Omega National Honor Society, and balanced classes, a part-time job, and two internships while still maintaining above a 3.5 GPA.

Fast forward to May 26, 2017, I had my graduation cap on, my sorority stoles, my honor society cords, and my gown, and I was ready to get the diploma that I worked so hard to achieve. As I waited in line to walk across the stage, I looked at my family in the audience – the ones who were there for me with love and support throughout my entire college career (and life!). I did it for myself, yes, but mostly with my family in mind. They are the reason my degree was possible and I’m proud that I was able to be the first one in our family to give that to them.

Stephanie Kartelias


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