September 2015: Jeremy Sallie ‘11

It's that time of the year, schedules in place, books likely on the way, reuniting with friends to share stories of the summer. Whether it's your first year as a Mountain Lion or your last bit of classes before graduation, the start of a new semester isn't too far from the start of a new year: just take a look at how crowded the fitness center is. Each student knows why they are there or at least the sense that they are in a good environment to figure it out. The opportunity is presented to reflect on the previous semester and plan for the next one, even that first day of school feeling starts creeping in.

After graduation, it can be easy to let those feelings fade as the structure of university life is no longer a recurring theme. Most likely, the cafeteria, gym, work and friends are not all in walking distance. You may find yourself in environments that don't appear to be conducive to productivity, healthy living, or even a sense of purpose. That feeling can be compounded if you're in a new location away from your normal network of friends and family and quite possibly the youngest in the room. Suddenly familiar thoughts like class scheduling, club meetings, and study times can be replaced with things like long-term goals, work-life balance and financial stresses; when grades no longer define success, it can be difficult to understand how you stand on the path of life.

Professor and Coach John Wooden had this to say about measuring success, "Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming." This is especially valuable to consider when you find yourself faced with uncertainty. The idea that, no matter what path you’ve chosen, whether you’re confident in your choice or feeling a bit unsure, if you give your best and work hard, that is success.

Life after university can be challenging, so planning for this transition is critical. Be sure to also be accepting when those plans change, though not so much that you lose sight of your dreams. No matter where you are in life, remember it's not the destination but the journey that is most important: so be sure to live each day. It is up to you to find that structure which suits you best— good luck!

My time as a student at Concord University helped prepare me for that transition. The guidance provided by faculty and staff sharpened my academic and professional skills, allowing me to finish the examination process to become a Certified Public Accountant, currently holding an average pass rate of 49% across four exams. Being a part of organizations like Blue Key Honor Society and Student Support Services also made a lasting impact in creating friendships that have taken me to job fairs in New York City, amazing roommates in Florida and even a destination wedding in Toronto. The confidence granted as a Concord graduate also proved valuable in acquiring a second language while spending nearly a year teaching English in Brazil.