If you told me my first-year in college that I was going to graduate school, I would have laughed at you and say, “Oh sure!” Fast forward three-and-a-half years later, I’m laughing at myself.
Never would I see myself getting my bachelor’s and now my master’s. It was not the path I had in mind. Now that I see the benefits and working as a graduate assistant, I am very happy with the path I am taking.
A wise-man by the name of Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” This can be applied to my college experience. The journey I have taken is far beyond what I have imagined. My “journey” can be separated into four categories:
You go to college to study an area of your interest. I chose Misericordia University as my top choice because of the program I was interested in which was communications.
I always tell our Department Chair that she sold me at an Open House that I attended. She spoke about how you can immediately get involved as soon as you step foot on campus. She was not kidding when she said that. I immediately dove into working with the TV and radio station. It led to me being hired as our television station MCN87’s producer right out of my first-year. As allegedly being the youngest producer hired, I learned a lot from the experiences I had working with clients, students, and other leadership opportunities.
The one aspect I can appreciate the most is the fact that I found out I did not want to produce or want to do news. This happened after an internship with our local television station. My professors encouraged me that it was okay to change your mind during college. If it wasn’t for my internship, I do not think I would be where I am at right now. I always encourage underclassmen to get into an internship to learn your likes and dislikes. The earlier you do it, the more time you have to change your mind or finalize decisions.
Generally, I can say the communications department has helped me transition from high school to college and has prepared me to be the best of the best in the professional world. With the experiences I have had, it has lead me to my Digital Media position in Alumni Relations as a graduate assistant.
The first piece of advice you’ll get at a first-year orientation is to get involved. Am I right? What if I told you that this was the first piece of advice I have given as an orientation coordinator?
The window of opportunity that has opened up to me since being an orientation coordinator my sophomore year has been amazing. With the many aspects of, leadership, and internal networking of the university, and all around fun, I guess you can say it was “sweet,” or “super?” You know what, it was a “grand slam!” The reason I used those words, in particular, is because of the orientation themes I have partaken in. First-year students no matter if they are in their sophomore or senior year, they will always remember their orientation theme (mine was ‘The Future’s so Bright, I gotta Wear my Shades’).
It didn’t hit me until my last year as an orientation coordinator how much of an impact you make with students and the campus. In my three years, I have welcomed approximately 1,295 students, participated in 15 one-day orientations, trained 194 orientation leaders, and have made countless videos of our marketing plans. Orientation has such as a special place in my heart (as well as my orientation boss, Darcy Brodmerkel). The networking as a whole has lead me to opportunities like being a Peer Advocate, Co-Host for the annual Talent Show, an internship with Student Activities, an Admissions Ambassador, and much, much more.
We often keep our wits about what surrounds us and the culture that we live in. Misericordia has an outstanding, safe culture in which students live every day. The cliché of holding a door open for someone is laughed at because almost everyone on campus does it. We help a person who is in need of picking up papers they have dropped, volunteering at a local soup kitchen or even going on a service trip like the one I did to Washington D.C to assist the homeless. The safe culture provides strength into the opportunities in which every student has on this campus. My huge culture experience is when I won a contest to play with the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters. The support from the university was one of the many reasons why I won.
And Finally, Professional Development
Although it is important to do well in your classes, I have found the one thing that has prepared me most for the real world is professional development. At one point, I didn't place as much value on education because with a major like mine, many people are very good at photography or graphic design without a degree. I now think that the certifications or degrees you earn brings more validity to the skills that you can perform. Already obtaining 2 certifications in digital marketing and google analytics, I look to further pursue my professional development and applying work to them.
All these had some part in my decision to continue my education, but as for Misericordia, I proudly call myself an alumnus of the university. My passion and drive towards this makes working in the alumni relations department much easier.
About the author: Mike Gombita ‘17 ’19 is a graduate of the communications program. He currently serves as a digital media graduate assistant in alumni relations while pursuing his Master of Science in Organizational Management. You can follow him on Twitter at @MikeGombita or connect with him on Linkedin.