R.E.A.L. Talk: Second chances are not a guarantee

As summer starts, students are leaving campus to plan their futures. Many will find summer jobs and internships, and they will return to their studies here at Tufts in September. Some will travel and take advantage of the time away from school. Many, like myself, will be graduating and starting a new chapter of our lives.

The job search for graduating seniors is intense. Looking for a job in your field can be terrifying. This is the start of a potential career and no longer just a paycheck. Will you stay in the Boston area, return home if Boston is not home or will you choose something that you have never done before?

Some seniors will be attending graduate programs. Their education is not done. Be it law school, medical school or one of many other options, students will enroll in graduate programs of every type and continue their education beyond the bachelor’s level.

Resumed Education for Adult Learning (R.E.A.L.) students are no different. We know how hard it is after graduation. We know that we have been given a second chance to do better than we have before. We know that our second chance is just that — a chance. There is no guarantee that we will succeed, but Tufts has made us better prepared for what each of us has in our future.

Graduating senior Jon Manninen’s time with Tufts is not done yet. He has been accepted into a five-year program and will be continuing to complete a master’s program in electrical engineering. In a year’s time, he will leave the Hill with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Graduating senior Michelle Barrios will be continuing at Tufts as well. After completing her bachelor’s degree in history, she will be returning to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to complete her Master of Arts in Teaching. Her hope is to become a high school history teacher.

Many other R.E.A.L. students will be looking for jobs in and outside of their fields of study, some successfully and others unsuccessfully.

I know that after graduation, I will be heading to Maine to start my master’s program. I have been accepted to the Stonecoast MFA program for fiction writing offered by the University of Southern Maine. My plan is to take my writing to the next level and hopefully make a career out of what I love doing.

Each R.E.A.L. student is different in the path they took, and each will take a different path once we leave, but we have been given a second chance — one that we are in a position to recognize when it is given to us. I know I may not be happy with every decision that I made in my life, but I know that coming to Tufts made every decision worth the trouble. I have the best chance to reach my goal with the skills that Tufts has given me. More importantly, the people I have met here, students and faculty, have changed my life for the better.