The degree is just the beginning

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Last month, I had an exciting opportunity to participate in the first ever DEL-MEM reunion.  Twelve alumni from seven different graduating classes traveled from nine states to be there.  As a first year student – who’s day-to-day is spent sweating the small stuff, during what everyone keeps telling me if the hardest semester – the reunion offered me a moment to take a step back and see the bigger picture: The degree isn’t the end; it’s just the beginning.

Don Wells
DEL-MEM Leadership Advisor Don Wells led the group in a lively discussion of what take-aways proved to have greatest impact in the careers of DEL graduates – and how the program can grow to be even more effective for future students.

While participating in the reunion activities, which ranged from “Back to Class” lectures to a social hour at the American Tobacco campus and tailgating at the football game, I realized I’m now a part of this DEL community.  I share a common experience with other environmental professionals across the county and the world.

We may not have been in class together, but we all had similar experiences.  Those common experiences are what allowed me to walk into a room full of strangers – and walk out with a feeling of camaraderie with 12 new friends.

MEMs braved cold weather to enjoy tailgating and a football game.

Meeting these DEL-MEM alums gave me a glimpse into the future.  I saw people who have are more knowledgeable professionals, more confident decision makers, and more reflective leaders.   It was a reminder of what to come.  Kristen Bremer, MEM ’13, said it best:

“You go through the program, get the degree, but it doesn’t end there.”

I hear ya, Kristin.  The real fun comes after!