By KAITLYNN RILEY, Advertising Manager

In just two weeks, I will be a college graduate. I still can’t believe it. As I look at my school ID and see my clueless, excited, eighteen-year-old freshman face staring back at me, I can only think of the journey that has brought me to this upcoming day, the expiration date on that now worn-out ID; graduation day.

My college career at the University of Michigan-Dearborn can be best described as a five-year long domino effect. Each decision I made, each event that took place, is what caused the one after it and eventually what brought me to where I am today. The first domino, freshman orientation, started with enthusiastic student leaders touring a group of students and I around the wonderful campus known as UM-Dearborn. I vividly remember doing this elementary exercise where we had to stand in a circle and tell the group “what brought us to UM-Dearborn.” “Engineering,” I said, “I want to be a bioengineer and UM-Dearborn has a great engineering program.” Let’s just say I am not graduating with an engineering degree today.

After struggling through the engineering program and realizing it wasn’t where I was meant to be, I took my studies to the College of Business, the next domino. Every business student is required to take an introductory business course, BA 100, where we are introduced to each area of business. As soon as we got to the marketing section, I was hooked. They had me at “the four P’s.” Now that I was in an extremely competitive field, and already in my third year of school, I arrived at my third domino, the Michigan Journal. Often when I told people I was a part of the Michigan Journal, they looked puzzled. “What’s a marketing major doing working on the school newspaper?” Well, as it turns out, anything that needs to make money involves business in some way, and that’s the case in just about every organization, right? For this reason, I was given the opportunity to become the advertising manager. Although I was not an editor and didn’t get to share these stories personally, knowing I was contributing to the reason they were able to be shared made me love the position. Not only did I learn responsibility, communication, and collaboration, I also met some great people.

Which brings me to my fourth domino, graduation, and my new full-time position as assistant marketing manager for the small credit insurance brokerage firm, Global Commercial Credit. It saddens me knowing my status with the university is now ‘alumna,’ but I can’t help but to look back and be thankful for all the little dominoes UM-Dearborn had lined up for me that also got knocked down along the way. The courses I took, the people I met and the jobs I worked would have never have become realities if it weren’t for UM-Dearborn. As I tuck away my student ID for good, I take one last glance at that freshman face and hope I’ve made her proud. My last domino has not fallen. There are more dominoes awaiting to be knocked down, and I am excited to see which one will be next in line.