Graduates should get involved in their communities

Educators In the News
Amy Pflugshaupt

May is a month filled with pomp and circumstance. Diplomas are handed out, families are snapping photos with their grads in cap and gown and students are celebrating the end of homework, quizzes, and exams. But what’s next? 

For many grads, it feels like the hardest part is now behind them. Young adults are excited about the endless opportunities. And then reality sets in. 

Students leave the comforts of college only to find themselves feeling lost and alone in a new city that is typically quite far from family and friends. Finding ways to adjust can be intimidating and something four years of college doesn’t necessarily prepare you for. The best thing to do is to try and make it feel like “home.” Get involved! Whether it’s through local civic organizations, young professional groups, volunteering, coaching or through religious gatherings – all of it is beneficial in becoming a part of the community.

This will also help you build a new circle of friends. Establishing these relationships are vital to adjusting to this new life. It may be harder to make friends since you aren’t surrounded by a large group of people your own age, but you will find those friends you make at your first station are most often the deepest friendships you will have.

Finally, in this industry especially, you’ll learn to live on a tight budget. Things will add up quickly, but whatever little bit you can save along the way will be extremely beneficial down the road. Groceries, gas, gym membership, a professional wardrobe will all make a big dent in that paycheck. Many of us didn’t get into this business to be rich. We did it because of the impact we can have on our communities and to give a voice to the issues that are important.

So when the glitz of graduating wears off, don’t get discouraged as the road may be a bit bumpy at times. Just remember this is another chapter in your amazing journey.

Amy Pflugshaupt is an anchor for NBC15 (WMTV-TV) in Madison and a member of the WBA Education Committee.