Name: Grace Cleland
Hometown: Oakton, VA
Major: Business Administration (Strategy Consulting and Marketing)
Extracurricular Activities: BBA Council President, Career Management Coach, Senior Marketing Fellow in the Office of Admission, Alpha Kappa Psi, Student Alumni Board, honorCode ATL
How does it feel to be entering your last semester of college?
It feels nostalgic, surprising, and exciting all at once. I’m trying to manage the emotions associated with leaving Emory by being really purposeful about enjoying the semester and about continuing relationships beyond Emory. I think this semester for many of us has the potential to feel like a blur of classes, being with friends, and tying up loose ends. For me, it’s important to slow down—something I don’t often do!—to acknowledge this “ending” and its implications and to reflect on my positive experience here. It also helps that I’ll be staying in Atlanta after graduation and will be working in a job that I’m very excited to start. Overall, I look excitedly toward the future and to being a proud alum of Emory, but want to take the time to give this semester the reflection and investment it warrants.
Looking back, what have been some of your favorite memories at Emory?
Many of my fondest memories have actually been outside the academic space and instead have been in activities and organizations at Emory. I have such positive associations with my time leading BBA Council and AKPsi and as a member of other organizations that allowed me to meet and engage with so many incredible Emory students and faculty. Beyond that, I remember very fondly fun memories surrounding my first-year dorm, Alabama Hall, and living in one of the sorority lodges my sophomore year. That co-living with others fosters memories and togetherness that are both so exciting and characteristic of college. I’d also like to think that some of the best memories are yet to come at Emory in this final semester!
Is there anything that you would want to do differently?
I think I could be better about prioritizing my involvements and, at times, about learning to say no, which has always been challenging for me. I think I got to that place eventually during my time here, where I was comfortable in my priorities and able to give back meaningfully where I wanted. If I could do my four years differently, I probably would have adopted that mentality earlier on, and realized that being less active for the sake of taking on leadership elsewhere, or even for the sake of having some extra time to myself, could benefit me and the organizations to which I contributed in the long-run. On a lighter note, I also probably would have tried Highland Bakery coffee sooner…I didn’t have a taste for it until this year, but it’s changed my mornings!
What was your initial reaction to being nominated as an Honorary Senior?
I was humbled to be recognized in that way. I think it was a feeling of gratitude and reverence toward the place that allowed me to have an impact throughout my four years. It is my perception that one of the overarching purposes of the 100 Senior Honorary is to engage potentially active alumni, and that is something I appreciate and look forward to about post-graduation life. I think this is a group of students who have a significant desire to give back to a place that gave them so much. This sentiment is of course not even limited to this group of 100 students—I look forward to being an active and engaged alum alongside all of my peers and fellow members of the Class of 2018.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I wish I knew! My tangible goals are to be successful at work and to potentially head to grad school to get my MBA in the next few years. Ideally, I’ll be living close to my family (or at least stay close to them personally if not geographically) and I hope to travel as much as I can while I’m young and working in consulting. Less tangibly, though, and whatever inevitably happens to stray me away from “the plan,” I hope to be happy and close to my family and friends, and to make time to be still and enjoy life at and outside of work.