By Khadijah Forrest, The Black Bear
DaLila Blaney graduated Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design & Construction Management. Now that her college career is over, Blaney is living in Orlando, Fl to work for Hensel Phelps as a Field Engineer.
“I grew up around construction and love being a part of huge projects,” Blaney said. “I love construction, but I enjoy graphic design even more, I would love to be a Creative Director for a marketing firm.”
She is also the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree and she has overcome many challenges while earning her degree.
“My freshman year my dad passed away suddenly and I had to sign to take him off life-support; it was the most challenging moment of not only college, but in my life,” said Blaney.
While attending MSU, Blaney participated in many organizations.
She is the founder and was the president of Springfield Design Association – Student Chapter, social chair for Construction club, a member of American Society of Interior Designers, public relations for National Pan-Hellenic Council, and president of the Theta Pi chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated.
Jamelia Shealey graduated Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Services and a minor in Health Care. She is from St. Louis, Mo and graduated high school in 2011.
“My ideal job consists of owning my own health care center that specializes in women’s health and pediatrics,” Shealey explained.
Shealey said now that she has graduated she plans on attending nursing school in the fall.
Shealey explains her most rewarding experience in college was being president of Sister Circle.
“I learned and so much about myself and grew over those two years and I learned how to run an organization with the help of my trusted exec board of course,” she said.
Shealey was a member of Sister Circle, His Legacy Ministries, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, Trio Mentor Program, Boys and Girls Club – Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and Leaders in Community Service – Girls On The Run Coach.
“All of these activities and organizations served as a learning tool in their own unique way and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity. I learned that I really like the aspect of mentoring. I’m not sure if that’s my ‘calling’ but it is something that I am very passionate about.”
Jordan Parker majored in Spanish with a minor in Communication. After graduating from Missouri State she is moving to Texas and beginning a new chapter in her life. Parker is also from St. Louis, Mo where she graduated high school in 2008.
Parker chose her major because she has “always loved Latin American culture and the language so I decided to purse it for a career.”
While in school, Parker faced some difficult challenges leading up to graduation.
“I was diagnosed with MS [multiple sclerosis] last semester and that took a huge toll on me academically but despite the setback but my comeback was greater,” she said.
On a good note, Parker also explained how graduating is her most rewarding college experience.
“A couple years ago I didn’t think I would be one to receive a bachelors in anything let alone in Spanish.”
Parker was involved in many organizations while attending MSU including Sister circle and L.E.A.L: Leading in Education to Approaching Latinos.
Through these organizations she said, “I learned the value of sisterhood, friendship, and education of another culture.”
James Barnes graduated with a degree in Facilities Management with an emphasis in Hospitality and Restaurant Management. He is a St. Louis native where he graduated high school in 2011.
As far as his plans post graduation, he said he is undecided however, he is seeking a job working in the medical field or in a sporting arena.
“I was interested in this field when I first came to college because of the opportunities it can provide for me and my future,” Barnes said.
He also said he has plans on pursuing a master’s degree, but would like to first see how his life unfolds before going back to school.
Barnes also explained some of the challenges he went through while in school.
“The many challenges that I have faced during college would include being a student athlete, being in a fraternity, and also working. I am very proud of my accomplishments and credit it to my perseverance that I have learned over the years.”
As a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated and Defensive End for the Missouri State football team, Barnes said he is no stranger to community service programs.
“I have learned that giving back to the community makes you a better person and shows what kind of character you have.”
Carl Watkins is a Missouri State University health services graduate from St. Louis, Mo where he graduated high school from Hazelwood Central.
Watkins plans to stay in Springfield where he will continue to seek positions in his field.
He says he chose his field of study because “I love working with people and to help them.”
Watkins says his most rewarding moment in college is graduating because of all the obstacles he had to face.
He says his biggest challenge is, “Coming up with how to financially afford college and working full-time while being a full-time student.”
Another accomplishment he notes is being the first in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Watkins is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated.
“I really learned how to improve my leadership skills and work in a team efficiently. I am also surrounded by men who stay striving for excellence in everything that they do which makes me want to do the same.”
Words of Wisdom From The Graduates
“Incoming freshmen – take general ed classes seriously because they are easy A’s if you apply yourself and they’ll come in handy you last year when you’re trying to keep your GPA up. Seniors – don’t overwork yourself it’s your last year/semester so enjoy it!” – DaLila Blaney
“Freshmen: Take your time and enjoy the journey. Don’t try and rush things. It’s totally okay if you don’t abide by those four year plans your advisor throws down your throat. Find balance between school, work, extracurricular, sleep, and physical fitness. Seniors: Finish strong, you’re almost at the finish line. Don’t beat yourself up because you don’t know what you’re doing after graduation. We make these plans for ourselves and beat ourselves up when we don’t meet our goals or when things don’t go our way but God already has a plan for our life and 10/10 His plans are WAYYY better than ours. It’s a hard pill to swallow, I know from experience but your faith has to be stronger than your circumstances.” – Jamelia Shealey
“There is more to the college experience than “turning up”. First and foremost make sure your work is complete before anything, procrastination is never good but in addition, Join an Org or 2, make new friends, learn about a different culture, don’t be scared to study abroad, this list goes on and on. This is your time to live and broaden your horizons. So take full advantage of the opportunities before you hit the real world and let me tell you it gets here FAST.” – Jordan Parker
“Steer away from taking out as many loans as you are approved for. You eventually have to pay them back.” – James Barnes
“Freshman get involved while you still can. College years go by so fast and you’ll get a better experience from it by being active on your campus. Don’t let senioritis kick in; finish your last semester with no regrets.” – Carl Watkins