How to Survive Graduating Early

Graduation can be a stressful occasion for any college student: especially when it comes early. As the end of fall semester gets closer, many students are feeling pressure to prepare for the real world. If you have the opportunity to graduate early, there is no need to panic; here are five tips for how to survive graduating early.

Start Your Job Search

1. Start the Job Search ASAP
It is no surprise that graduating early means that you need to start job searching early. As soon as you find out your graduation date, it is time to be on the lookout for potential employers.

Though graduating early is a noteworthy achievement, it also means that you have less time for job hunting. This is where a majority of early-grads find their stress levels elevated.

“It can be a bit overwhelming to realize that you have less time for job searching than your friends do,” says Auburn University senior Cassie Geslak. “If you start job searching early you can take some of the pressure off yourself.”

Though entering the job force early can be nerve-racking, this is an opportunity for you to get ahead of the game. By the time many of your classmates enter the workforce, you can have five months of experience under your belt.

2. Take Advantage of the Networking Opportunity


An early graduation date is a great subject to use when networking. Reach out to potential employers and let them know the time frame you would like to start a position. This will allow you to mention that you will be graduating early. This fact shows the level of work and determination you have put into your studies in college.

A noteworthy achievement like graduating early can set you apart from other candidates and exemplifies your work ethic.

Graduating early is also an opportunity to reach back out to the professional connections you have already made. If you started networking early in your college career, update your resume with your new graduation date and send it out. Letting connections know that you are graduating early is the perfect excuse to re-establish relationships.

Getting the conversation started with a potential employer can be the first step toward landing a full-time position.

Students cheer on the Auburn Tigers
Auburn Student Section

3. Make the Most of Your Last Semester
Every college student will say that it is important to make the most out of your final semester. While it is important to focus on your job hunt and finishing your classes, it’s also important to make memories that will last a lifetime

If you are graduating early, you are bound to miss out on some experiences that your friends will get to have. In order to combat any fear of missing out, you need to make your last semester unforgettable.

Take trips with your friends. Attend as many sporting events as possible. Go to a concert. Do whatever it is that will make your semester the best one yet.

At the end of the day, leaving college early won’t be easy. But if you go out knowing that you made the most out of every moment, you can at least look back with no regrets.

4. Decide Where You Want to Be Post Graduation

Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta Highway and Skyline

As is true with any job search, it is important to consider where you would like to live. When looking for a full-time position, think about what cities you would be happy moving to.

Think about whether you would like to be close to your family and if you want to know people beforehand or start completely fresh. Consider the cost of living and any other factors that are important to you.

This will help you narrow your job search and give you something to look forward to after graduation.

If you are excited about the city you plan on moving to it will be significantly easier to leave your college town.

Scared College Graduate

5. Don’t Get Discouraged
Graduating early and finding your first job can be an extremely stressful life event. Remember to relax every now and then to ensure the stress doesn’t get you down.

It is important to keep in mind during this difficult time that you need to keep things in perspective. Rejection during your job search is bound to happen. Be sure not to take rejection personally and accept that some things don’t work out for a reason.

It is normal to envy others who get to live the college life after you graduate. Do not let the fact that you are entering the real world before some of your peers be negative. Remember that you worked hard to get where you are and should be proud of your accomplishment.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the graduation woes, especially when it’s coming early,” says Monique Willmer, a soon-to-graduate public relations student. “But even if you are graduating before your friends, don’t let graduating early be a bad thing.”

Don’t be discouraged if your entry-level position isn’t your dream job. We all have to start somewhere and most professionals can attest that your first job won’t be your last.

If you are graduating early, congratulations! As scary as it might seem, don’t forget that this is an event worth celebrating.

Above all, remember that life doesn’t end just because you get your diploma.

Greek Life and the Push for Diversity: Auburn Senior Tells Her Story

Auburn senior, Cydne Wright, makes strides toward diversifying Auburn's Panhellenic sororities
Cydne Wright

It is no secret that Greek life organizations across the country have struggled to implement a strong sense of diversity and inclusion on college campuses: Auburn, unfortunately, is no exception.

Though many sororities and fraternities have expressed a desire to increase diversity within their individual chapters, few men and women of varying minority groups choose to go through formal recruitment.

Cydne Wright, an Auburn senior majoring in journalism, has broken barriers for inclusion in Auburn’s Panhellenic system  as the first African American woman in her sorority and first African American Pi Chi.

The 21-year-old describes how she has flourished in the Greek community, how she struggled and the reality of what it is like to go through Panhellenic recruitment as an African American woman.

After attending Camp War Eagle, the Atlanta native decided to go through recruitment as a quick and easy way to meet people before the school year started.

Like many women, Wright describes her recruitment experience as an exhausting process, though she admits that her race remained a focal point throughout the week.

“All throughout the week I would hear that I’m going to get asked back to a sorority because I’m black, or I’m not going to get asked back because I’m black,” Wright said. “Everything was connected back to my race, but I think that is a consistent trend with what is happening with minorities today.”

Wright explains that her recruitment experience mirrored the type of circumstances she expects to face in the real world. She finds that often times both her successes and failures are linked back to the color of her skin. However, she was able to break free from this stereotype as she took on the highly competitive role of Pi Chi.

For two years in a row, Wright was chosen to disaffiliate from her sorority and represent Panhellenic to women going through recruitment for the first time. She describes it as one of her most rewarding experiences at Auburn as she formed unforgettable relationships with her groups of potential new members.

“I think it’s amazing to create these wonderful bonds that go so much deeper than something as shallow as skin color and for them to see that Panhellenic really does accept all,” Wright says.

Wright was recognized by the director of Greek life for her natural ability to lead, the care she provided for her group members and her professional representation of Panhellenic.

“It was so fulfilling because during the week it was no longer that I was the black Pi Chi but rather that I just did my job well,” Wright says. “I was a good Pi Chi because of me, and it had nothing to do with my skin color.”

Wright’s goal was not only to excel at her position but also to show minority women that an African American can be accepted into the Panhellenic organization and also be chosen to represent it. She encourages minority women who are considering going through recruitment to keep a positive outlook on the process and remain confident that they belong in the Greek community as much as she did.

“Don’t look around and think that you don’t belong because someone doesn’t look like you,” Wright says. “You might have in the back of your mind that what happens to you is because of your skin color, but push through and find a group that accepts you for who you are and what you look like.”

There is no doubt that the senior has made a lasting impression on Greek life as a whole and has pushed for progress toward diversifying sororities at Auburn. Her vibrant personality, charisma and ability to thrive in trying situations have won her friendship and admiration from peers in the Panhellenic community.

“I’ve created a place for myself where yes, I’m black, yes, I’m in a sorority and yes, I don’t look like everyone else,” Wright says. “But this is what the real world looks like, and if I’ve been able to find my place here, I can find it anywhere.”


Love and Security: Auburn Professor Describes Life as a Foster Parent

Mr. and Mrs. Walden

On the first day of a new semester,  Jeremy Walden starts class with a unique introduction. The Auburn professor flips through a slideshow about his profession, his education, and a glimpse into life with his one-of-a-kind family.

As he jokes about his need for a large passenger van, he unveils that he and his wife are the proud parents of four biological children and three foster children. Walden and his wife have fostered four children long-term and have provided overnight care to several minors in the Lee County area.

The couples’ journey into foster parenthood began with a desire to adopt their first child. After seeking insight from several adoption agencies, the two decided to use fostering as the first step toward providing a loving home to children in need.

“Giving a child love and stability is one of the best things you will ever do,” Walden says.

Walden describes the rewarding aspects of providing a healthy home-life to the children he cares for. This includes one of his favorite memories of taking his foster daughter to a daddy-daughter dance.

“One of the most rewarding things is having them call me Dad,” he says. ” It is also really fun doing things with them that they have never done before like fishing, taking them to the movies and going to the beach.”

Though foster parenthood has been an enriching experience for the couple, Walden admits there are difficulties that accompany this family dynamic. These include complications from the court system, maintaining a strong marital unit and balancing the needs of his biological children.

“You will need a strong support system,” Walden says.  “If you are married, your marriage needs to be rock solid before getting into a potentially stressful situation.”

Big House Foundation

Walden has seen several marriages struggle, separate or end due to the strain of foster parenthood. To deal with the potential stress, the couple uses support groups like Big House and the Foster Parents Association.

The Waldens also have to examine the needs of their own children when considering taking in a foster child. The DHR even interviews each child to confirm their support for foster care before the couple is granted licensing.

“When we’ve been approached about taking in another child, we sit our kids down and explain to them why we are doing this and how it could potentially impact them,” Walden says. “Overall, our kids are very welcoming and open to sharing.  However, it has been challenging at times for some of them.”

Walden explains that tension can sometimes arise between his biological and foster children.  When the children are the same sex and age, competition can be created.

Despite the potential for conflict, the family of nine has managed to strike harmony in their home. This family unit is so strong in fact that they plan to adopt their three current foster children.

As students take on the bustle of a college semester, it can be easy to overlook the personal lives of our professors. Walden’s patience and care for his family reminds us of the humanity behind our Auburn instructors.


5 Tips for Landing Your Dream Internship

As undergraduates make their way through four years of college, the idea of obtaining a career-launching internship remains an ever-present concern.

The opportunity to get your first hands-on experience is both exhilarating and terrifying, but the real apprehension comes from the process of getting a position.

Most students find themselves asking the same classic questions that accompany the search for an internship: What are they looking for? What kind of skills will I need? How do I set myself apart?

While internship searching can be a nerve-racking experience, following these five steps can help set yourself apart and land your dream position.

1. Remember your writing skills

Keep your writing skills in mind
Writing skills

Writing is a critical skill that any professional position requires.

Recruiters will be looking for a candidate that can articulate their brand’s message in a way that is concise, thoughtful and error-free.

Be sure to double-check your resume, LinkedIn account and every email you send for typos.

“No matter what kind of internship you are going for you need good writing skills,” says senior journalism major Cydne Wright. “Your credibility diminishes if you are repeatedly making mistakes in your writing.”

After ensuring that your writing is error-free, consider supplying companies with papers and project samples if the position is writing intensive.

This will not only give the company a taste of your writing, but it will also make you look prepared, driven and more professional.

2. Make your social media marketable

Shelby on social media
Professional Social Media

Your personal social media is an extremely important tool when it comes to landing an internship.

Your social media not only represents your personal life but also gives insight as to how you will represent the company.

The first step is to make sure your social media is squeaky clean. With 37 percent of recruiters using social media to research candidates and 97 percent of companies using it to recruit hiring prospects, you should consider deleting any questionable posts.

Shelby Miller, an Auburn senior majoring in apparel merchandising, recommends keeping future employers in mind any time you post.

try to post things that companies would be interested in seeing
Shelby Miller: social media marketability

“Since I am currently trying to break into the fashion industry, social media is a really important tool for shaping my career,” she says. “I think for any career path you are following you should definitely keep your social media clean and try to post things that companies would be interested in.”

Take the time to research a company’s social media pages to get a feel for the kind of online presence they might be looking for. If the company holds your dream position, consider implementing what you find into your own social media accounts.

3. Networking is key

Networking is key to professional success
Professional Networking

This tip applies to all job searches in general. When it comes to finding an internship, your professional network can put you far above the competition.

Whether it is a family member, a professor or professional acquaintance, having a connection on the other side of the hiring process is invaluable.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for help when looking for an internship. You will be surprised by how willing people are to assist your search.

If you know any professionals in the field you are looking to enter, send them each an email to say you are interested in learning more about their position and company. This is also a great opportunity to pass along your resume to a professional who is in your desired line of work.

Just this small step can open doors to opportunities and insights that may have been left unknown had you not taken the time to reach out.

4. Interviews: do your research and have questions  

Research and prepare questions before your interview

Dr. Daniel Butler, a marketing professor at Auburn’s college of business, tells his students that for an interview you must “know before you go.”

Conducting research on a company prior to your interview is imperative for success. Research the position, the company’s history, its goals and anything you may want to use as a talking point during the interview.

By showing that you have taken the time to thoroughly look at the company’s website shows that you have a genuine interest in the position. Your research will also help you form meaningful questions to ask your interviewer.

“Always make sure you have a good question to ask at the end,” says Rachel Snow, an intern for Auburn University’s design team. “Whether the question is about growth within the company or something personal for the person interviewing you, asking a question makes you seem more engaged and will help you stand out.”

By researching the company’s website, your interviewer’s LinkedIn page and sites like Glassdoor, you will come across as prepared to take on your internship and a meaningful addition to the company.

5. Beef up your resume

Add numbers and details to your resume

Your resume is the single most important document for your professional career and is the key to getting your foot in the door.

It should be concise, error-free and limited to one page. Use sites like Canva to build your resume from easy to use templates. Along with these basics, you should also keep in mind that companies don’t just want a list of things you have done.

Employers want to know the positions you have held and the details of what you accomplished. Erin Duff, a public relations and marketing representative for Stable Kernel, recommends adding quantitative data to your resume in order to back up your experiences.

“Companies want to know the tangible tasks you have accomplished,” she says. “It is important to add numbers wherever you can to make your experiences more results-oriented.”

Don’t just say what you did: say how you did it, what you accomplished and what kind of contributions you made. Adding numbers to your resume, as well as thoroughly explaining your experiences, will better your chances of getting in the door and one step closer to receiving a job offer.

Landing an internship is the first step to entering a competitive workforce. By following these tips, you can leverage yourself above the competition and secure your dream position.

Ode to the Post-Kick-Six Generation and the 2017 Iron Bowl

Auburn Tigers cornerback Chris Davis (11) returns a missed field goal for a 100 yard touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the fourth quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

“No it does not have the leg, and Chris Davis takes it at the back of the end zone,” says Auburn radio sportscaster Rob Bramblett.

“He’ll run it out to the 10, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 there goes Davis! Davis is going to run it all the way back! Auburn is gonna win the football game! Auburn is gonna win the football game!”

The night of the 2013 Iron Bowl and Bramblett’s iconic game coverage, has gone down in history as one of the best Auburn University sports moments of all time.

Pride for the Kick-Six still hangs in the air on Auburn’s campus, even four years later.

Like most students my age, I remember watching this moment from my couch at home. With my acceptance letter fresh from the mail, I watched my soon-to-be fellow students storm the field in Jordan Hare Stadium.

Auburn Fans Storm the Field after the 2013 Iron Bowl

The class of 2018 was a group of wide-eyed high school seniors at the time. Some of us didn’t even know Auburn would soon be our future home. For a lucky few who attended the game with their families, they still don’t know what it was like to be in that student section.

“I remember watching the Iron Bowl from home in Tampa and thinking ‘this is it,'” says Auburn University senior Kyle Maidens. “After watching that last play and all the students storm the field, I knew I wanted to be a part of the Auburn Family.”

Regardless of where you were during the 2013 Iron Bowl, the Kick-Six holds a special place in the hearts of all Auburn University students. However, as the class of 2018 has now become college seniors, we can’t help but wonder: will we ever get our own miracle at Jordan Hare?

Older students would likely laugh at the thought of topping the tipped Hail Mary pass against Georgia and the 109-yard return against Alabama. But, now that most students during that historic season have graduated and moved on, the current generation is left to hope that history will repeat itself.

“The Kick-Six was incredible, but I can’t help but wonder when it’s going to be our turn,” says Ciara Jones, an Auburn senior about to graduate in December. “I would love to see us beat Alabama at least once while I’m a student.”

It’s a stretch to believe the 2013 season will ever be topped, but after four years of watching the Tigers struggle, it’s fair to ask if we will ever get that field-storming kind of moment.

Fans rush the field after the 2013 Iron Bowl
Auburn University Tigers rush the field after winning the Iron Bowl
(Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

As the 2017 Iron Bowl nears, a sense of hope seems to be rising around campus. After the 40 – 17 win over the number one ranked Georgia Bulldogs, Auburn has the most promising outlook going into the Iron Bowl since the 2013 season.

The game against Alabama takes place on Saturday, November 25. This will the last home game for the class of 2018.

Our time at Auburn University isn’t just about football or the Iron Bowl, but it’s safe to say it has played a major role in our college career. As members of the class of 2018 and those who follow, we are a part of the post-Kick-Six generation, and we are ready for the 2017 Iron Bowl.

Auburn’s director of Greek Life: One Man’s Nightmare can be Another Woman’s Dream Job

If you were to describe your dream job, dealing with thousands of sorority girls, angry parents and crisis management for 18-to 22-year-olds probably wouldn’t come to mind. However, for Auburn’s Director of Greek Life Jill Moore Martin these characteristics are part of her everyday life, and she loves it.

Since taking the position in 2013, Martin has been in charge of overseeing all major Greek life functions for Auburn. She is also involved in crisis response to situations like the death of a member, hazing complaints and suspension of a sorority or fraternity.

“I am involved in disciplinary actions,” Martin says. “If a complaint is brought against a group, I’m often the one who has to decide: Do we investigate it? Do we report it to their headquarters? How do we move forward?”

Auburn’s Sorority Bid Day

Martin often finds that blame for a Greek organization’s suspension falls on her. Though these actions are rare and are often the result of repeated violations of Auburn’s standards, some parents and alumni have proven to be irrational in their responses.

“At times I’m like a lifeguard overlooking everything, and if an angry parent is flopping and flailing in the water you can’t let them bring you down too,” Martin says. “I have to allow them to calm down and then try to help them understand the situation.”

Dealing with angry parents have become a routine part of Martin’s job: especially when it comes to sorority recruitment. Martin has been threatened with lawsuits, media attention and the removal of her position. One parent even threatened to stop giving donations to Auburn because his daughter did not get the sorority she wanted. Another compared her daughter’s withdrawal from recruitment as being equivalent to death.

Most people would find dealing with such overbearing characters to be emotionally wearing, but Martin is able to find humor in it.

Jill Moore Martin

“I get threatened with lawsuits all the time, and it used to upset me,” she says jokingly. “Now I just tell them to get in line!”

Despite criticism from upset parents, Martin’s dedication to the men and women in the Greek community won her recognition in the form of a $2,000 scholarship presented in her honor. The Jill Moore Martin Endowed Scholarship is given to a Panhellenic woman who displays financial need. She describes the surprise as one of the most memorable moments of her career.

“I realize that things get blamed on me, and I’d rather the sororities hate me instead of each other,” Martin says. “But that felt like at least somebody noticed that I’m trying to do something good, and it was really awesome.”

Martin’s role as the blame-taker has done little to diminish her reputation in the Greek community. She is highly regarded for her outgoing personality and has been known as a “fireball” since her first Panhellenic position as an Auburn undergrad.

Auburn Panhellenic Recruitment

As Martin enters her fourth year in her position, she continues to work toward improving her favorite aspect of the job: working with students and helping them grow in their Panhellenic positions.

“I love working with students in December and helping them gain the confidence to do their jobs,” she says. “I love seeing the learning and seeing the end of the year compared to the beginning of the year.”

Despite the angry parents, crisis management responsibilities and lawsuit threats, Martin continues to show an admirable passion for her position and the students she works with. Perhaps director of Greek life does not describe your dream job, but if you ask Martin she’ll say with a bright smile, “My job is so much fun!”


Social Media Release


**This Social Media Release was created for educational use and is not affiliated with the Hangout Music Fest in any way.**

Contact: Kelsey Bixler- Director of Marketing and Communication

The 2017 Hangout Music Festival 

Join us for another year of outstanding headliners


101 E. Beach Blvd., Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542

If you are looking to enjoy your favorite bands with your toes in the sand, head down to Gulf Shores, Alabama, this summer for the 2017 Hangout Music Festival. You don’t want to miss out on the chance to see this year’s incredible lineup featuring headliners like Mumford and Sons, Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean.

The Hangout Music Festival is an annual three-day event that takes place in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Since 2010, the festival has featured some of today’s most popular rock, hip-hop, pop and electronic dance artists including The Killers, Dave Mathews Band, OutKast and more. The festival attracts between 35,000 and 40,000 people a year and has brought in $30 million in revenue in years past.

The Hangout Music Festival strives to allow attendants to listen to their favorite bands while enjoying all the perks of a beach location. Attendants can watch headliners from the two beach stages: the Chevrolet Stage and Hangout Stage. There are also several other smaller venues located on the blocked-off street outside The Hangout restaurant.

“I have been proud of our lineups every year,” Shaul Zislin, co-founder of the Hangout Musical Festival, says. “But I can honestly say this might be our best lineup yet, and I can’t wait for fans to experience it.”

“I am thrilled by what the 2017 Hangout Festival has to offer,” Zislin says. “If you’re a music lover this lineup is for you, and this festival is where you need to be.”

“The Hangout Music Festival gives attendees the unique experience of listening to their favorite rock, hip-hop, pop and electronic dance artists while enjoying all the perks of a beach location,” says Zislin “The lineup this year is featuring some of our most renowned artists to date including Weezer, Migos and Marshmello. ”


The Hangout Music Fest Graphic
The Hangout Music Fest 2017 Lineup


The Hangout Music Fest 2017 Hype Video

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The Hangout Music Festival is an annual three-day event that takes place in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Since 2010, the festival has featured some of today’s most popular rock, hip-hop, pop and electronic dance artists. The festival attracts between 35,000-40,000 people a year and has brought in $30 million in revenue in years past. For more information visit

Media Kit

Click here to view the media kit for the 2017 Hangout Music Festival.