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Some advice for Syracuse’s soon-to-be graduates

“Trust us, we’re experts.”

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse University’s commencement ceremony is this weekend, and that means another group of Orange graduates head out into New York City the world. One of those individuals will be our own Ari Gilberg, who wraps up his own time at SU.

Thanks for everything these past couple years, Ari! And we hope to still see you around here plenty, even if you’re done being our Syracuse football beat reporter. Congratulations on graduating, bud! (and hopefully everyone here knows how lucky we’ve been to have you around here)

For Ari, and the other graduates, a few of us have also assembled some advice. Since we write online (and I do it as a career), maybe just take it with a grain of salt...

Andy Pregler

Coming from someone who currently works in Alumni Engagement, this may sound like the company line, but it's so true: leverage your degree and what it means. You just paid *squints* THAT MUCH for a piece of paper that makes you a Syracuse Alum. But being an alum is about all of the stories you have from campus and the connections you made. Surprise: other alumni have those stories too! And love talking about them!

Your career from here can be just as Orange as your campus experience. There are career service, alumni volunteer and alumni representative resources at your disposal. Use them! And don't forget that every time someone asks for $44 from you, it's to help keep building out those resources for our Orange family.

James Szuba

Welcome to the rest of your life! And also welcome to reality. Whether you have a job lined up or not, try to enjoy these days. Soak in all graduation has to offer and appreciate the time spent with family and the friends you've developed relationships with over these last few years. If you don't have a job lined up just yet, don't fret. Spend some time and ask yourself what you'd really like to accomplish in your short life and once you know or you think you know, spend your time and energy pursuing it. If you're still job searching, don't be too abashed to tell everyone (literally everyone) you're looking.

You don't have to have your dream job right away, so try to find a role that will develop the skills necessary to advance your career and will push you along the path to achieving whatever it is that you're passionate about. If you can't find work right away, don't get frustrated, as many recent grads will be in the same boat. Enjoy the extra time while you have it because once you start working, free time is scarce. So take this time to get into good shape, pick up that book you've been wanting to read, visit that place you've been meaning to visit and reach out to old friends to catch up over coffee, lunch, drinks, etc.

Enjoy your life. Life is tremendously short, so focus on the things that matter the most to you. That hopefully includes your family, friends and (if you practice) religion. And at the end of the day, life is about people, the impact we have on one another and the moments we share together so try to think of how you'd like to be remembered when your time expires. Got all that?

John Cassillo

Don’t: Do what I did (career-wise). I spent my senior year chasing a potential law school acceptance, despite having no interest in ever being a lawyer. Then told myself I could start working in PR despite having no interest in doing so. Stayed in San Francisco despite hating living there. Worked in PR for seven years because I was convinced that getting paid reasonably well was more important than being happy.

Do: The other things I did. Dedicate yourself to the relationships with your friends, your family, your eventual husband or wife. Work to live, rather than live to work. Find ways to make work work for you (thanks, Final Four tickets). Pursue what you want to do and how you want to do it -- but sooner than I did. Feel rewarded by the things you do in your life, and the people you do them with.

Again, I write (about sports, technology and real estate) online, so... take this all with a grain of slate. But don’t compromise what you want out of your personal or professional life. Every day you do is another day you’re not being as happy as you could be.


Have your own advice for this weekend’s SU grads? Share some nuggets of wisdom below.