With another successful Commencement behind us, recent High Point University graduates are kicking off 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 2019:
Name: Jillian O’Connell
Hometown: Tolland, Connecticut
Post-graduation plans: O’Connell is pursuing her Doctor of Physical Therapy at the University of Connecticut.
How HPU helped you get there: “I would not have gotten where I am without HPU. I took some very challenging courses throughout my undergraduate years and if it wasn’t for the chemistry and physics learning labs where I worked one-on-one with professors every night or the private tutors I had access to, I would not have earned the good grades needed to get me into every PT program I applied to. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities that HPU provided. From studying abroad through the Office of Global Education to working in the cadaver labs as an exercise science major, my experiences HPU made me stand out compared to other candidates applying. The Office of Career and Professional Development also assisted me a lot in touching up my resume so that it was professional for someone seeking a graduate degree.”
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “Dr. Tarara is by far my most impactful mentor. He taught me to think outside the box and to think beyond words on the pages of books. He really ensured that we didn’t just learn the material, but that we were able to apply it and accomplish it in the real world. I could not wait to get back from Christmas break to tell Dr. Tarara that I had gotten into every graduate PT school I had applied to. I knew he would be beyond happy for me, and I couldn’t wait to share that victory with him.”
Most impactful moment at HPU: “My most impactful moment at HPU was when I came back from studying abroad. I loved my experience abroad, but I hadn’t realized how much I had missed my home while overseas. Coming back to campus, I was overcome with happiness and ended up hugging the first security guard in sight while they welcomed me home. It really proved to me that this is my home and this is where I’m supposed to be. I also enjoyed being able to contribute a global outlook in the discussions in all my classes and a new perspective about what I had learned abroad.”
Advice for underclassmen: “Take advantage of every opportunity! The four years go by much faster than you think. So please, take the opportunity to study abroad, do undergraduate research, join a club, volunteer, get involved and build your resume. HPU has so much to offer you and carries a great reputation. Take advantage of all the opportunities they are giving you, and you will not regret it.”