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Southern life here and beyond

12/07/2010
By:

Allison Townsend

Editor in Chief

As I round out my fourth semester at Southern, I am preparing to say my goodbyes! I have done it. I have completed my undergraduate degree in eight semesters, despite my transfer here from UNC at Charlotte two years ago.

I am beyond satisfied with the quality of education I have gotten at Southern, which has been nothing less than challenging. I joke frequently that I did more in my first semester here than I did at the first two years at my previous school.

This semester has by far been the toughest for me. I have spent three days a week, or six credit hours, interning at a leading public relations firm in New York City, taken four classes, been the editor-in-chief of Southern News, the vice president of the Society of Professional Journalists on campus and kept a part-time job to pay the bills a couple times a week.

There has been a drive inside of me this semester, which has fiercely developed since I started at this school in the spring of 2009, that has led to me to seek and take charge of every opportunity I could manage to get my hands on. I have become so proud of everything I’ve done at Southern.

Before this semester started, I spent my summer panicking, absolutely unsure of whether or not I could manage the schedule I was about to take on. I know now that with meticulous planning and great organization, I am sure I could take on almost any sort of impossible schedule.

But my departure here is bittersweet. I think I have done a lot for myself and for my future while I’ve been here, which I think is the point of any education. However, in my wake of searching for success at school, I have paid a major price: I have let nearly every personal relationship I had down.

During my two-year attendance at Southern, I visited “home” in Ohio only five times. None of those visits occurred longer than 4 days.

I let a four-year relationship fail after my first semester here, when I realized a focus on my future might be more important and I couldn’t see the life I once imagined with that person.

After the challenges and the pressure I’ve placed on the relationship I’m in now during this semester, I’m seeing that I’ve pretty much let this one fail, too.

I visited my family once before the semester started, and told them I’d resurface again at Christmas.

Everything I did this semester was for a greater good, I told myself. I have no doubt in my mind that my family and friends understand the situation I’ve been in, but now it’s time for a behavior change.

Right now, I’m getting ready to start a new chapter in my life. A chapter that might make the greatest
impact on me. The “future” that I always talked about is practically here, and all I can hope for is that in the process of striving for more “success” at a career, I can salvage, save and mend any relationships I’ve damaged in the process.

If anything, I can say that I’ve received a stellar education, surrounded myself with many incredible staff and students, and am leaving feeling more prepared than ever to start a career in public relations, which is something I’ve been interested in for years.

If I could offer any advice to you future graduates, it’s that you shouldn’t let yourself get too caught up in your work to enjoy your personal relationships; it doesn’t mean you can’t leave your footprint on this campus in the process.

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