With another successful commencement behind us, recent High Point University graduates are preparing to commence prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2015:
Name: Karaina Callahan
Hometown: St. Charles, Illinois
Major: Callahan graduated with a B.A. in English on May 9.
Post-graduation plans: Callahan accepted a position as a Scheduler for Carson America—Dr. Ben Carson’s political campaign for president. In her position, Callahan coordinates logistics for the presidential candidate and team members under the head scheduler from campaign headquarters. On a daily basis, she organizes travel and housing for team members around the country and files paperwork on each trip, in addition to providing assistance in-office for senior staff.
How HPU helped you get there: “High Point University helped me get where I am in many ways. The first, and most important, was networking. Dr. Qubein mentioned he was friends with Dr. Ben Carson in Senior Seminar one afternoon and, having already been an avid fan of Dr. Carson’s, I asked if Dr. Qubein knew anyone on the campaign that I could get in touch with. The next morning I woke up to a phone call from one of his good friends, and here I am a few months later!
The second, was the message of the university. To those whom much is given, much is expected. It encouraged me to reach for, what I thought to be, the unattainable; it helped me believe that the ‘American dream’ no longer needed quotes around it—it is a reality and it is doable.
The third, and most dear to my heart, was the High Point University English Department. Not only were all of my classes intellectually stimulating and challenging, but pushed us as students to continually assess how we saw the world, whether through a lens of criticism, art, politics, psychology or economics. The English major is the most useful major for going out into the world. It prepares you with all the correct skills: critical and creative thinking, strong communication skills (both written and verbal), and not just reading comprehension, but reading application. I credit the amazing faculty and course materials for pushing me to be better than I ever thought I could be.
I mostly utilized the Career & Internship Services office as a freshman. It was great to get a foundation of how to ‘be professional’: write a resume, cover letter, or practice interview questions. Dr. Jenn Brandt of the English Department was my Senior Portfolio teacher and concentrated the class on how to apply the amazing skill set we learned in our major to the real world. It was great to have such a concentrated focus on how to market ourselves as members of the major. And, for once, to be told there were more choices than teaching with an English degree.“
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “It really is such a struggle for me to give one name as the most impactful mentor I had at High Point. Even in General Education classes, I would meet professors that I would never have in class again, but would see outside Slane a year later and talk to them like we were in class yesterday. There is no denying how stellar HPU faculty are.
If I had to give one name, it would be Dr. Matthew Carlson. From the very first class I took with him, I stopped doubting my intelligence. He teaches in a way that not only showcases the fact that he is extremely knowledgable, but helps you realize your own intelligence as well. This caused me to pursue an Independent Study with him my senior year, which turned out to be one of the most interesting studies I had completed all of school. Not only was he a great teacher to have, but also a great resource outside the classroom, and throughout senior year was always engaged in what our potential after-school plans would be.“
Most impactful moment at HPU: “My most impactful moment was definitely graduation. It finally sunk in—not only was it all over, but I did it. I had made it and all the hard work and all-nighters were worth it.”
Advice for underclassmen: “It is never too soon to start thinking about life after college. You don’t have to commit to a certain career path—look at me, my end goal was never to end up in politics, but I am absolutely loving it so far—but start looking into potential positions you might want. Read the job description and what they are looking for in a candidate. You would be surprised how much you might already fit the description, and how to plan out the rest of your time at HPU to help guide you to a position like that.
But, by the same token, don’t worry if you don’t know. You still have years before your brain is even done developing, and choosing a career path so ahead of the game can seem really daunting. Or narrowing to your options. There were so many things in the world I wanted to try after school, I didn’t want to commit to just one in case I was missing out on something better. And to those that don’t really know what they are going to do or how they are going to get there, I will share with you a piece of advice my dad gave me when I was going through a similar situation:
Life is a dartboard. You can throw a dart and miss the bullseye, but you are trying. You can keep throwing darts until you hit that center target, maybe hit some other key points on the board along the way, but if you never throw a dart, you’re not even on the board. Start throwing darts. You might miss, but you are getting yourself into the game and getting your name on the scoreboard.”
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