Spring Break: The Beginning Of The End Of My Graduate Program

Spring Break: The Beginning Of The End Of My Graduate Program

It’s been a great nine months at Newhouse so far. I’ve had a ton of challenging work, a lot of rewarding projects, and definitely plenty of learning opportunities. One of those learning opportunities actually came today, on spring break. Let me skip the story on this and give you an easy summary: I was stung by a sting ray on my spring break vacation.

It’s funny that I feel like there was something I learned at a time when I was determined to not learn anything in particular. Spring break is an amazing time for us as graduate students; the program is challenging and we had just passed the point where the spring semester began to work us a little harder. Fall had been more challenging for me so far, but the beginning of March was a tough time where we started to see the same workload as the fall semester. I’m not saying spring is easy for advertising students, but fall was a lot more stressful for me up to this point. So here I am, ready to travel to a nice beach vacation in Southern California, shedding all of the midterm tests and projects that come with the first week of March. Surfing can’t possibly be stressful or disheartening, right?

Well there I was, sitting on the beach with a bag over my foot. I rented a surfboard, managed to fall off of the one wave I was close to catching, and had my stress-relief session cut short after ten minutes by a sharp stab in the side of my foot. I couldn’t catch one wave before my day was forcibly concluded. Instead of enjoying a nice day on the beach, I had to make sure the toxins dissolved from my foot before I left for the day. I loved surfing, but this really made my experience and outlook a little less optimistic. However, I feel like I did take something away from this unpleasant experience. Even better, I think it relates to the whole grad school experience for anyone at Newhouse, whether this year or in a few of the future classes.


There’s no reason to fear the unknown.

Sure, the beach might have sharks once in a while. Jellyfish and sting rays may wander close to shore and run into you on an unlucky day. Regardless, you never know if these dangers might cross your path at all. Why would you fear a shark if you are unlikely to encounter one? In the same sense, why bother pre-stressing about job interviews and potential internships when you don’t know what your own future holds? I feel like we are all fit to succeed at the jobs we want, but you can’t be sure that your efforts will lead you to the perfect opportunity right away. So, why worry about what might happen when you’re not sure how your professional life will unfold? You can get to where you want to be, but higher education leads to a ton of new opportunities. How can you be sure you’re making the right choice?


Use the mistakes.

I did not anticipate ending my surfing day early, but I did learn something new that I will add to my process going forward. I won’t get into that exact detail, but it’s the mistake and learning how to avoid it in the future that makes the process important. A lot of my mistakes have come from facing the same obstacles over and over. There’s no way you can eliminate hazards and errors completely, but you can draw on past experiences to guide you to a better future. I have definitely made mistakes in my time at Newhouse, but I try to remember all the wrong moves I made when I face my next challenge. These moments can be helpful, just don’t call it “bad luck” or make excuses. Own your path.


The most common piece of advice: Get back up!

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little more cautious now. I feel like I’m going to get stung again. However, I’m not going to stop doing something I enjoy. I’m not going to let fear pull me away from an exciting activity. Instead, I’m going to think about the parts of it I love when I find myself dwelling on the negatives. You’ve likely heard this a thousand times before, but maybe I can catch you at the right time for a helpful reminder. When you fall, when life gives you lemons, when the odds are against you, when everyone tells you “no”, push harder for the things you’re passionate about.

Hang in there!

Joseph Laraiso
Advertising Master's Student, focused in Account Management. Background in finance and investing. Progressive Rock enthusiast. Expert in being very blunt and straightforward.