Farewell to Undergrad: Two Takeaways from SMU

People tend to call college the “best four years of your life.”

And to be completely honest, I want to believe that isn’t true. So here’s my farewell to undergrad post. To look back on the two defining moments that have shaped my undergraduate career, and have helped me recognize that we have a few lessons to take with us post-graduation.


For years I’ve thought long and hard about graduating from college. What will it signify? What emotions will this milestone event bring? Does this mean we’re finally going to be thrust out into the “real” world? Will we be force to determine our career paths in the three month window of summer? How can we put ourselves one step closer to our life goals?

I know that our university graduation means we’re one step closer to determining our futures, however I can’t help but reminisce on the last years of undergrad and how quickly they’ve flown by.

So to sum up four years, here are the top two takeaways I’ve had during my undergraduate studies at SMU.

Farewell to Undergrad: Freshman Move In Will Repeat Itselfimages

Many people can fondly remember moving into their respective freshman dorms at SMU, in the sweltering heat. If there’s one thing that freshman move in teaches us, it’s to LET GO of hand holding. Let go of home, high school, and our insecurities. To view college as a blank slate to grow and develop.

Reflecting back on these days, there’s a parallel to how our first day of work will unfold. Imagine unpacking your belongs at a new cubicle, letting go of college life, and starting our professional careers as a blank state. In a way college isn’t just ending, it’s repeating itself in a new setting, where we’re adding value to a business or company who chooses to hire us from our experiences.

Know When to Ask for Help: Lessons from Accounting 101


If there’s one thing to value the most in undergrad, it’s to cherish the friendships and support systems that arise during the most trying times. The best example, was taking mandatory accounting courses for all business majors, or any challenging course that was never required for your actual major.

During late nights, cram sessions, and pep talks with peers you learn to harness a can-do attitude when an exam begins to look like a dark rain cloud raining on any chances of a decent grade. However, when friends and colleagues take the time to offer a helping hand, or when you collaborate in a study session, the team mentality can outweigh the dread that comes with a less that interesting course.

In a similar way, finding a solid group of colleagues in the professional world has a significant importance in how one views day-to-day responsibilities in a positive light. From past work and academic experiences, being in an environment that fosters relationships and communication can typically turn around negative experiences in the workplace.

Overall, embracing new experiences and establishing a strong support group is essential to entering new experiences such as college or work. With graduation so near, each graduate can recognize how college has only prepared us for our professional careers much more that we might credit it.

Farewell SMU, and thank you for helping me realize that we are ready to take on any career of our choosing.





Ellen Handa

Ellen Handa

Ellen will graduate May 2015 with a degree in marketing and a minor in communication studies at SMU. Born and raised in San Diego, California, she enjoys blogging, golfing and laughing at bad puns. Feel free to check out her blog: https://wellwithel.wordpress.com.
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ellenhanda
Ellen Handa