“Congratulations! Our records indicate that you will graduate in May or August of this year.”

You can imagine how excited I was to read those words in a letter I received from Gannon two weeks ago.  Who wouldn’t be ecstatic to know that you’re on the right track and your life plans are falling into place?  I smiled, and then I read the next sentence: “We are required to notify you of your rights and responsibilities with regards to student loan repayment.”

Oh boy.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t thought of repaying student loans.  I’ve been so engulfed with senior thesis, rehearsals for “Camelot” and getting myself ready to graduate that loans were inadvertently put on hold in my head.

After seeing how much I owe in student loans after four years of higher education, I realized that I need to get a move on with my job search. Have I thought of what I wanted to do after Gannon?  Of course, but there are still so many options that I want to pursue.  I’m a theatre AND communication arts major, so which part of the major do I want to practice?  Which part of my major am I more skilled in?

The theatre, communications and fine arts department has prepared me well. I am prepared as a writer, director, performer, producer and communicator. The classes I’ve taken in four years have primed my skills in these areas and my professors have given me the tools to succeed in whatever I want to do with my life.  So, the next step is to find the right occupation for myself. How else are those loans going to get paid?

With the idea of loans fresh in my head, I started looking at options in my field. Freelance writing and photography, broadcast copywriting, camera operating, human resource work – the list is absolutely endless. With so many options, I feel confident that I will find a job that I will enjoy.

There is hope after graduation. Contrary to what people might say, there are jobs out there.  It just takes a little searching and the idea that perhaps relocating to a different city is probable.

For now, I’m going to put my career paranoia to the side, take a deep breath and enjoy the time I have left at Gannon. I still have more to learn, more projects to work on, more thesis to write and more shows to perform. I’m first and foremost a student… a student who is learning “tricks of the trade.”

As much as I hate the thought of paying student loans, at least I know that my money is going to help me be a successful communicator, whether it be on-stage or behind the scenes.

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