Taylor Sipila, Class of 2021As a Communication Studies major, I was able to explore my passion for higher education in my coursework, which has led me to my career. Currently, I am an Admissions Counselor at the University of Portland working to recruit prospective students from Oregon, Idaho, Eastern Washington, and Colorado. My Communication Studies background has prepared me to tailor my messaging to specific audiences, create organized and engaging presentations, foster relationships, reflect on my own power in an institution as complex as a university, and mostly, center equity and inclusion in my role. I am grateful that my undergraduate major taught me how to reflect on my own experiences. In all of my classes throughout the program, I was always challenged and encouraged to analyze my own identities and how they influence all facets of my life--- personally and professionally.
I am grateful that my Communication Studies degree gave me the heart to continually ask the question, “Is this the best we can do?” and see what power I have to create change. My educational experience at a Jesuit University has allowed me to leave the place and still have the mission tethered to my heart. Even a year after graduation, I still am passionate for serving, enacting change where injustice occurs, building reciprocal relationships, and approaching life with genuine care for the world and those that exist within it. My education did more than give me a degree and a job, but it helped me understand a bit more of my purpose and place in this world.
If I could tell my senior year in college self anything, it would be that it’s ok to not know what’s next. I spent far too much time stressing out about what comes next rather than enjoying my final year in college. The last year of college is one of many celebrations yet also, many goodbyes. Especially goodbye to a place that has cultivated so much growth. Take in every simple moment from chatting with a professor over coffee, or walking down Bulldog Alley, or sitting at a Courageous Conversations, and know that you are walking away from your four years with much more than a degree. The rest of your life will happen and you will find a job and move onto something new that isn’t Gonzaga—take in the time that you have in the place and trust that the education you have received, the relationships you have built, and the unique experiences you have had will lead you to whatever is next. Soon after that, you will reevaluate again and move on. It’s the cycle. Take it in, breathe, let it go, and trust that it’s prepared you for what’s next.