Congratulations, Class of 2022! In spite of civil unrest nationwide, on-campus and a global pandemic that forced two and a half of your semesters in college to be virtual, you have reached the Hilltop.
As you receive the badge and title of honor that is a Howard University degree and Howard University alumna/alumnus, alumni and professors implore you to remember these four requests.
Don’t Let The Job Market Discourage You
Jade Walters is a 2021 graduate who studied maternal and child health education with the intent of pursuing a career in public health. As the journalist for the Delta Phi Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc., Walters gained an interest in public relations and marketing. Pivoting to a new field while graduating during the Great Resignation, she said it was very difficult for her to hear back from companies.
After using her social media platform and viral Tik Tok resume, Walters now works as a client solutions specialist for Tik Tok and runs a Gen Z career coaching brand called @theninthsemester.
“If you’re struggling to find something post-grad: rejection equals redirection. What you think you want, it really may not be for you, and it’s the universe aligning to help you find something that is meant for you. You might face a lot of job rejections…just take it as, like, ‘your time is coming soon.’ This was not meant for you right now, but there is something meant for you, so just keep that in mind when job hunting,” Walters said.
Do Manage Your Money … And Give To Alma Mater
Professor Jennifer Thomas is an associate professor of broadcast journalism, the sequence coordinator for the journalism concentration in the department of media, journalism and film communications and a proud alumna of Howard University. While in school, Thomas worked in the Office of the Dean of the School of Communications, the university’s broadcast service WHUT [WHMM at the time] and several television and radio internships. She also pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., served as Miss School of Communications and Miss Howard University, founded the Frederick Douglass Honors Society and participated in Spotlight Network and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Having secured an offer at a local station in her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, Thomas deemed it important to understand and practice money management.
“What’s very important to me is, regardless of if you have an entry-level job in a local, community newspaper or if you’re starting on Wall Street, it’s important to know how to properly manage your coin…It’s really important when you get that first job to look to see what type of portfolio they have when it comes to their investments, 401(k)s, starting to know how to put money away, and not just in a savings account, but money that can grow and learn about investments,” Thomas explained.
Furthermore, when tasked with budgeting, money management and investing after college, it is important, according to Thomas, to remember to give to the University.
“Try to remember alma mater…and to support us and to support the University…we always talk about the resources we need at Howard, but we want to make sure that our alumni giving is right up there. We talk about, ‘HU, you know,’ well we need to know that we, as alumni, want to support our school, and that’s how we continue to have those resources that we complain about not having,” she said.
Don’t Forget The Mission of Truth and Service to the Black Community
Dr. Gregg Carr is an associate professor of African-American studies, the 12-year-long chair of the department and an adjunct professor at the Howard School of Law. A famed African-American studies scholar, writer, public speaker and a three-time recipient of the Professor of the Year Award at Howard, Carr hopes students remember to keep the needs of the Black community at the forefront.
“This institution has to represent our people, and that doesn’t stop with a piece of paper…when they see that Howard University symbol, when they see that you graduated from Howard University, they have an expectation of you. Never forget that, when you graduate from Howard University and you tell people that, they look at you, ‘Oh ok, so what you doing for us?’ And don’t ever let that answer be nothing,” he said.
Do Seek Mentors And Embrace Your Howard Network
Joseph Dillard, an alumnus of both the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Law, currently works as an assistant programming coordinator for the Office of the Dean of the Chapel–working heavily with the Alternative Spring Break program.
From learning how to budget as a high school student to losing his grandfather right before finals during his first year of law school, to switching careers after his minority-owned company was purchased by a larger corporation, Dillard amplified the idea that having mentors had been extremely helpful for him. Dillard proclaimed that more than 75 percent of his mentors today are Howard alumni.
“You always want to keep in touch with those people who helped you get to where you want to go…Mentors are probably the most important thing in your life when you make transitions and throughout your whole career, and always lean on them for guidance. Always trust them and their knowledge…You have to be careful who you call a mentor and make sure that your mentor is giving you the best advice for you,” Dillard explained.
Dillard also declared that students should be using the Howard name and network to its greatest advantages.
“It was a Howard alum who told me–a mentor–… that you should never have to apply for a job and, if you do apply for a job, it should just be for formal reasons. And what she meant by that is that you should always use your Howard network to open doors for you,” he said. “The Howard alum network is so great.”
Copy edited by Jasper Smith