Graduation Details!

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You’re looking at an official college graduate! I, Liz Morrison, have graduated with a BA in Communications and I couldn’t be more proud! It was a long journey to get here but I’m thrilled that I made it. Starting college at 17, I had no idea what to expect and where this road would take me, but when I walked across that stage and shook hands with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, I knew that this was exactly where I was supposed to be.

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As a first generation college student, my parents were so thrilled! My mom ordered a cake for me from one of our favorite bakeries in Virginia Beach (it’s vanilla). After the ceremony, my parents took me to a nice restaurant on the water so we could celebrate and rehash the event. We also spent a few hours on the beach laying in the sun.

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My dad rarely smiles for photos but on graduation day, he smiled! From the time I was a little kid, he always encouraged me to go to college and make something of myself. I’m so grateful that I was able to do just that. This accomplishment means the world to me and my graduation day was the single most important day of my life. It meant freedom, prosperity, and starting a new legacy for my family.

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The morning of my graduation it was a little foggy but as the day went on the fog burned off and the sun came out in time for our ceremony. It was incredibly warm in that cap and gown sitting under the sun. One guy in front of me actually passed out from heat exhaustion. Since our school is small, everyone graduates on the same day. There were about 1500 people that graduated so we sat outside for quite some time before it was my degree program’s time to walk. That moment was well worth the wait though. When my name was read aloud I had little tears in my eyes and a smile that said it all.

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Part of my graduation gift to myself was buying this lovely Lilly Pulitzer dress for the event. I got quite a few compliments on it once I took off the graduation gown. Lilly is for special occasions and this certainly counted as one! It was the perfect day and I’m so thankful that I have it to look back on. Tell me about your graduation day in the comments below!

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September 12 and My Trip to the World Trade Center Memorial

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to write today. It’s not that I have lack of anything to write, but the words I would like to say just aren’t coming to me. As most of you remember, September 11, 2001 was an absolute tragedy for Americans across the nation, particularly for those in New York City, near the Pentagon, and in the small Pennsylvania town that saw a plane crash in a field. Hours of video footage shows the same thing- death, despair, destruction, and loss. Looking up at those burning buildings and knowing there isn’t a thing anyone can do to stop the inevitable is heart wrenching.

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This is a photo from a 9/11 memorial that my friend and I hosted and planned at the local veteran’s home. It made Washington D.C. news. Each flag represents a person who died. We had 2,997 flags placed in the ground.

Fast forward to September 12. There’s still dust in the air, fires still burning, bodies still beneath the ruble. But something has changed in the atmosphere. America is alive with passion and pride. New York wakes up with determination and strength. Rescue workers and volunteers gather at Ground Zero to begin recovery. Former President Bush delivers a speech using only a bull horn. For once we aren’t political party members, we are people united by our national pride. Looking to the sky saying our prayers and looking to our flag pledging our allegiance. Slowly, we begin the long process of healing and rebuilding. That day sets a precedent for the next few years.

I look back on that day every year and it brings tears to my eyes. It’s like the D-Day of our generation. A tragedy we won’t forget. The crazy thing is our children don’t and won’t remember. It’s just a day in history for them. With my own kids, I’m not going to let them forget because when we forget we become vulnerable.

A few years ago I was able to visit the World Trade Center memorial site. What an absolutely humbling experience to walk on such hallowed ground. You don’t realize how big these buildings were until you see the basement-turned-memorial for each tower. More importantly, you don’t understand the loss of life until you see every name etched into the stone surrounding the memorial. My only complaint about the site was that the American flag wasn’t bigger.

After visiting this beautiful site and reliving every moment of that day, I can honestly say there’s no other place I’d rather call home than here in my America. And this pride electrifies me every time I walk on such hallowed ground.

Before I close, I have to ask: Where were you September 11? Comment below.

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How to Interview for a Job: Take My Advice

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A previous internship I’ve been at

If you’re like me starting out, interviews were kind of a “wing it” event. You didn’t know what to do or how to prepare. I had to learn from experience. I have been the recipient of 7 different internships, selected as an ambassador for World Vision International, the foreman for a local junior jury, received two scholarships to attend a young leaders program in Santa Barbara, and was recently selected to be a crew representative for a boutique in Florida (more on that to come!) Needless to say, I have been through a lot of interviews! I want to share with you real information and tips on how to win big in your next interview.

The first thing I learned was that if you’re interview is over the phone (which many of mine have been) it is crucial that you maintain a positive voice and don’t make comments that could possibly be taken the wrong way. The interviewer can’t see your face and therefore cannot tell how you feel or whether something you say is meant to be taken as humor or not. In other words, don’t try to be funny. Be pleasurable and personable, but don’t try to be funny, because you never are when you have to try.

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My surprised and annoyed face!

The next thing I learned is to be prepared for the unexpected. Do you know how many questions I’ve been asked that I did not have a prepared answer for? Too many to count. I’ve been asked things such as “What United Stated economic policy was, in your opinion, the least effective?” My first thought was “Uh, what? Come on, who asks this stuff?” Well, because it was a think tank in Washington, D.C. they will always have questions to throw at you that weren’t expected. If you are interviewing for a position that you feel unsure of, then have someone else pretend to interview you and ask questions you aren’t prepared for.

A third thing I have come to expect is to be asked what my weaknesses are. For heaven’s sake if it’s punctuality don’t say that! I’ve learned that the safest answers are either worrying, perfectionism, or impatience.

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Group outing to Mt. Vernon!

Something else I have picked up on in the corporate world is that companies are putting new emphasis on team work and group cohesion. Group activities such as bowling or a cook out are becoming a very important part of building a team-centered atmosphere. If you’re hoping to get a new job, expect this to be part of the company culture and say so in your interview. Employers want to hear that you like working in teams but can also work alone. Both are important.

In your first interview, I do not advise that you talk salary or benefits unless they bring it up. Most companies will set up a series of interviews with you and the first one is typically where you go through your resume and explain everything in detail (make sure to have your resume with you) and they get to know you as a person. After that, the questions get much more specific. The second or third interview is when you might start talking about salary. Be sure not to make that your very first question.

Here’s my final piece of advice- ask questions! At the end of every interview an employer will ask if you have any questions for them. You better have some! This shows you are interested in their company and not just getting the job. Some of my favorites to ask are:

1. What’s a typical day like in the office?

2. What do you like most about working for the company?

3. Is the company active in the community (i.e. do they support any charities, do volunteer work etc.)?

You want them to think you’re interested in what your life will be like if you worked for them. It also shows that you have actually thought through why you would like to work for the company.

Go forward with all the confidence in the world! You can do this! As the saying goes, “Hold your head high gorgeous, there are people that would kill to see you fall.”

P.S. Wondering what to wear for an interview or even to work? Check out this helpful post! Signature