College Grad Diaries: 5 Lessons Learned from Working and Going to School


I’m normally known for my recaps for shows like The Fosters and Nashville, but today, for this post, I wanted to write about something personal. I graduated last week from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with a concentration in Journalism. The whole graduation ceremony was an event I’ll never forget. All of my family was there, and we’d had a great time getting together to celebrate my accomplishments in school.

But as much as I’m proud of my last six years in school, those were some of the most challenging. At the time, I was both working and taking classes, so that had made my life more difficult because it was just work and school. I’d hardly went out or had much of a social life because I was always working. Even though my time in school is now over, looking back, I learned many lessons along the way.

So here’s a list of lessons I’ve learned (and still learning). If you’re also working and in school, hopefully these lessons can be inspiring for you too.


5. Be Honest with your Academic Advisor – When I was struggling with both doing school and working, even working part-time, I turned to my academic advisor, Jason Richards. He helped me come up with studying plans that also fit my work schedule, so it all worked out. At times, I thought that I would fail or not do as well in either situation, but having a good academic advisor really helps.


4. Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out to Fellow Classmates, even if they don’t have the same degree program as you. – Being in an online degree program, you’d be surprised to see how many students come from outside of your city, state, even country. And they’re in the same class as you! Since I both worked and did school, my work experiences applied to the Communication classes I’d taken. It makes it easier to talk to other students who work during the day too. There’s a similarity involved.


3. Do what is right for YOU. – I was looked at as weird, strange and odd for doing school online and working, but I knew that I had to do it. I didn’t have a car so I couldn’t commute to a local school or even live on campus. My mother was the one who had suggested finishing my Bachelor’s degree online (in a snide comment, since I’m always on the computer), but I actually did it, and I’m glad that I did what was best for me. If people think you’re out of the ordinary for going your own path, screw them! Let your haters be your motivators!


2. Find your people. Find your tribe. – Throughout the six years of school and work, I’ve made some good friends, acquaintances and more. However, there were also some people within my degree program that had just wanted to start shit and not get any work done. Those kinds of people I know are not going to stick with me. I want the right people to be my home away from home. Even when I was working, I stuck with the coworkers I felt most related to. Life is too short to be spending it with people who are nice to you one minute, and shade you in another.


1.Enjoy the ride. – Whether it’s four, five or even six years spending in college, or working part-time in a store, it’s best to enjoy the ride you got. To be honest, I’m glad I had the privilege to go to school while working, even though it was the most stressful, anxiety-ridden moments in my life. It also showed me the value of perseverance, knowing who your true friends are, and discovering your tolerance level. I have no idea what’s next for me now that college is over, but I know that it won’t be working in a store the rest of my life. But it’ll be fun to see what happens next!

So those are my lessons I’ve learned while being in school and working. Hopefully, they’ve inspired you in some way or another. Let me know what lessons you’ve learned in the comments below.

We also recommend