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Seize the opportunity

 

Opportunity is everywhere. Being a student today means being submitted to a range of different experiences and opportunities, like choosing a good lifestyle now that we are on our own, joining campus organizations and applying for major-related internships.

Four years ago, I had just started my first year at Itawamba Community College in Fulton as a journalism major. Within the first semester, I had the opportunity to go to Paris and London with a group of students supervised by a theater professor. When I went to my parents to ask permission, their reply was extremely shocking. I no longer had to ask permission for anything. I was an 18-year-old adult who had very trusting parents. It was my first real breath of freedom and individuality. So, I took the trip.

Since then I have been to and photographed Cozumel, Mexico; Branson, Mo.; The Atchafalaya Basin of Louisiana; New Orleans; and and traveled with countless other in-state trips for school organizations. Only one of these trips actually cost me any money, and all of them paid me 10 times in the experience. I have even had job offers for when I graduate simply because my name is out there, and I am getting plenty of experience.

Opportunities do not easily fall into everyone’s lap. If I was not making good grades, then the requirements for some of these trips would have excluded me early on. If I did not apply myself to build good working relationships with other students and faculty within my major, I would not have received phone calls for some of these opportunities.

A good friend of mine told me something last week which really defines the point I am trying to make. He showed me the bachelor’s degree he just received in May. As I was looking at it, he said, “It’s almost completely worthless.” He explained that he did not have enough experience to get a good job, and it was very difficult even searching for a lower entry-level position in his field.

My friend was right to an extent. With that degree he can still get a job in his field, but his lack of experience will not permit him to get the job he actually wants anytime soon.  He focused on his grades during school, and he graduated with special honors hoping that it would set him apart. The truth is that graduating with special honors, straight As or at the top of your class does not put you above all the other people in the job applicant pool who have much more experience and maybe even less education.

Take chances and accept opportunities today. Save money just to afford the deposit on a major-related trip to get some experience. When you graduate college and have all these trips, internships and experiences they will make your degree, and your time spent earning it, worth so much more.