Commencement celebrates the many successes of our campus—individually and collectively. It is a day filled with excitement and pride. Yet, the following Monday morning often seems so empty. Our new alumni, well prepared for the next steps in their life journeys, have moved on. Their impact is here, but their physical presence is not.
Jordan Bushaw, our 2016–17 Student Senate president, is one of the recent graduates I find myself thinking about. Her contributions, during a challenging year, were significant. She has grown and learned a lot from her peers and the faculty and staff. We have become a better university because of her participation at VCSU.
In this spirit, I share below her final Student Senate column for our monthly report to the State Board of Higher Education, written prior to commencement.
It’s that time of year—no, not Christmas. It’s the time of graduations, interviews and endless pulled-pork sandwiches at the infinite grad parties you get invited to.
This is the season of goodbyes.
Goodbye to the friends you’ve made over the past few years, goodbye to the professors who’ve either become friends (or not), and goodbye to the friends you’ve seen every day for the past few years.
I’m graduating college on Saturday, May 13 (or at least I’m hoping so). I’m moving home on the 14th, and in early July my dog and I are moving across the country to Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, for my new career at NBC Universal Studios.
I’ll spend the next two years skipping across the country with my dog. I can’t wait.
Over the past three years VCSU has become my home and my family. I joined clubs and organizations, attended sporting events and occasionally even did my homework. VCSU opened doors I didn’t even know were there for me. I started as a kid who had no idea what programming was; now I’m technically an adult who has lived in New York City by herself and is starting her first “big girl” job in a month-and-a-half.
My parents never believed me when I told them that I was never moving back home after I left for my first year of college. (Then again, I figured I was lying, too.)
But that first summer I moved to Medora, North Dakota, for my first internship. I didn’t even know that was a job until Career Services sent out the email to us.
The next year I went to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Houston, Texas. While there I interviewed with over 40 companies. I was offered seven internships from that trip. I took a job with NBC Studios, and this North Dakotan moved to New York City for the summer. From that internship, I was offered a full-time job after my graduation before I even started my final year of college!
That was a long intro to what I should say about my time at VCSU. Or more, what I should thank VCSU for. Which is everything.
If I hadn’t made that decision a few weeks before my first year of college to pursue a software engineering major, I would have never received any of the opportunities I had.
VCSU provided me with not only the tools and the skills, but the chances I needed to make it after graduation. My professors cared not only about their classes, but about me and my future. Professors who weren’t even in my major went out of their way to help me prepare for interviews, moving, and editing my résumé.
The point I’m winding my way to is this piece of advice for other VCSU students: Make the most of your college career. Say hi to the professors in the hallway, join the clubs, attend the events, apply for the jobs that you have no chance at.
You will be surprised by what a smile and good work ethic will bring, but always remember that there will always be a VCSU Viking who is willing to help. Once you’re a Viking, you’re always a Viking.
— Jordan Bushaw ’17
Thank you, Jordan, for your selflessness, growth mindset, and kindness—for being a Difference Maker—and for proving that every day is a great day to be a Viking! Godspeed.