Advice, Reflections, & Hopes from the Endicott College Class of 2020

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This year’s senior class has certainly learned a lot. Much of that learning was earned in classrooms and through time together with friends, faculty, and staff, and other lessons were learned from simply living. They have worked hard, had fun, and they have certainly made their mark on the world. To say that we are proud of them would be an understatement—we are honored to know them.

Today, we are sharing their advice, reflections, and hopes for the future. 

Do you have advice you can offer to the incoming class?

“First of all, welcome! You are about to embark on an awesome journey that will go by way faster than you realize—it has for me!

  • Be sure to manage your time wisely. This will be the first time you’ll only have classes for about 3–4 hours a day; how you fill the extra time in your day will be important.

  • You will experience a lot of highs and lows, adjusting to being away from home, trying to get to know others, managing the workload of your classes, and finding ways to get involved on campus. Take a little time each day to decompress; freshman year is fun, but it can be stressful.

  • Know that you will create friendships as time goes by; give it time. My biggest mistake was letting myself get overwhelmed by trying to make friends instantly. I learned as I went along that you naturally make friends in classes, your dorm, and through organizations/clubs you're involved in.

  • My other major piece of advice is to make a list of what you need to get done each day. Sometimes the list might seem long, but you’ll fit everything in. Days go by so fast at college, between doing laundry, getting meals, going to class, going to practice or games if you play a sport, socializing with friends, and most importantly, completing homework. It may not seem possible, but you will get it all done!” — John McGuire, business management major with a minor in hospitality management

“Do things that make you happy. Join groups that support what you believe in, and find friends that push you to be your best self. You’ll face challenges but you’ll face some of your greatest successes; accept them as they come. And above all, have fun being a Gull!” —Tacy Cresson, digital media major with a concentration in journalism

Kendra Johnson“My advice for the incoming class is to make sure you enjoy every single day. As cliché as it sounds, time really does fly by, and especially after losing the rest of our time at Endicott I’m glad I can remember all of the fun and stupid—but of course safe—things we did. Take advantage of all the extra activities the school offers. This is the last time you will be able to have so many fun events just given to you, and it’s a great opportunity to make even more memories with your fellow Gulls.” —Kendra Johnson, hotel management major 

“Some advice I would offer the incoming class is to enjoy every second of the journey. Everyone says it, but it goes by so fast. It really does feel like yesterday that I was meeting my roommates for the first time and now four short years later, those roommates are my best friends and we are graduating together. All the friends I made will last a lifetime, and I am so thankful to Endicott for giving me a new family.” —Peyton Atkins, biology & biotechnology major

“Get involved, even if it's with something small on campus. Branch out and try new things, you never know who you'll meet or what you'll learn about yourself. Smile at people you may not know, it could brighten their day.” —Sierra McLear, psychology major

“Take advantage of all that Endicott has to offer—the beaches, free food, and events that offer social interaction to meet new people. The best friendships form unexpectedly, so step out of your comfort zone and keep an open mind.” —Leah Laurenza, nursing major

“My advice for future classes is to make sure to get all your work in complete and on time, but also make sure to go out and spend time with classmates. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.” — Nicholas Cameron, hospitality management major

What is something valuable you learned from a faculty or staff member?

John McGuire“Major in a topic that is of interest to you. Trying to pursue a major that is not of interest is not worth it; you won’t be motivated to do the homework if the topic bores you. The last thing you want to do is to graduate and not love the work you’ll be doing. Finding a major that interests you will make it easier to get work done and will motivate you to find interesting internships.” —McGuire

“‘Be skeptical, not critical.’ My advisor, Lara Salahi, said that in the first journalism class I took my freshman year and repeated it throughout the four years. Her media expertise is something I admire deeply, and I look up to her as a journalist. I value every lesson and piece of advice she’s given me and know I’ll take it into my professional career.” —Cresson

“I learned a lot from the faculty and staff, but one important thing was to be myself—in the classroom and in every interview. You never will find the perfect fit for you if you are not being yourself.

“For a faculty member, Mariellen Fidrych is definitely a big part of the reason I got my degree. Whenever I needed help, I was able to sit down with her and get all of my thoughts in order. Dr. Cronin is another person who helped me achieve my goals. He showed me his methods of achieving his own goals and pushed me to try hard with everything so that I could get to where I want to be.” —Johnson

“Endicott, Beverly, and the North Shore are all close-knit communities full of opportunities. Using your network to meet new people and branching out was one of the best pieces of advice I received because it allowed me to find amazing internships and meet wonderful people.” —Atkins

Endicott College's Sierra McLear

“There are countless valuable things that I've learned from the faculty and staff at Endicott College. The one that will forever have a lasting impact on me is when I was on a European study abroad trip and I was missing my daughter so much. The faculty I was there with was the only person that could truly relate to this heartache, and I cannot thank them enough for being there every step of the journey with support. Whether I was missing my daughter or finding it to be an emotional rollercoaster trying to eat (I have Celiac), the support was always there.

“Reflecting back now, I am so proud of myself to be able to make it through that trip. On that psychology tour I learned more about myself that I never thought I could, in just 10 days. I found a new strength within myself.” —McLear

“Every interaction with staff and faculty was so valuable to my success, they each shaped me into the person I am today. They taught me that every day is a Great Day to be a Gull.” —Laurenza

“I learned to be more assertive in everything I do, which I learned while working with the folks at Callahan Dining for my internship.” —Cameron

Who you would dedicate your degree to?

“I would like to dedicate my degree to my Internship Coordinator, Cathy Butler. She was one of the first staff members that I met at Endicott and she has been one of my best advocates throughout my four years here. She was always there to help me with interview prep as well as to help me find potential internships that were a good fit for my learning style. She made me feel welcome and worthwhile. I felt comfortable popping my head into her office to ask questions about internships or just to talk about life in general. I will really miss seeing her face and talking with her everyday next year!” —McGuire

“My sister. She raised me, believed in me, and pushed me to live unapologetically.” —Cresson

“I would dedicate my degree my entire family but especially my Grandma. Whenever I was in a rough patch or thought about giving up, she would spend hours praying that I would achieve everything I wanted to. If she could spend hours praying for just me, I knew I could put all of my energy in to not let her down.” —Johnson

Peyton Atkins

“I would dedicate my degree to my parents, but especially my mom because she has been my biggest supporter and role model in my time at Endicott. My parents have taken every step possible to further my dream of being a veterinarian, and I am very grateful for that. They were always a phone call away and they came to almost every one of my softball games, even if it meant driving five hours.” —Atkins

“My daughter Zoeigh McLear followed by Dr. Dolinsky, Dr. Saltikoff, Dr. Albers, Andrea' Rhoades, Lauri Rawls, Barbara Lucier, Amanda Snow, Stephanie McGowan, Amy Cohn, Casey Roland, and many more. It takes a village.” —McLear

“My family because they helped me every step of the way and my Endicott friends because they encouraged me to stay motivated and close my books to go out and have fun.” —Laurenza

“I would dedicate my degree to my parents for all their support and to all the staff at Endicott who helped me along the way.” —Cameron

One thing I would have done differently is...

“When I first arrived at Endicott, I was so overwhelmed with everything, between cross country practices and lifts, the amount of homework I had, and trying to make friends with people in the dorms. I thought that joining other clubs right away would cause me to get more stressed. Now, I realize it would have been beneficial to join other organizations sooner so that I could have met more of the Endicott Community and widened my circle of friends.” —McGuire
Endicott College's Tacy Cresson

“I lived on the beach for four years and didn’t see nearly as many sunsets as I should have!” —Cresson

“I would have not only let go of past grudges, but made more memories with every one of my friends. I thought I had so much time left and if I had realized it would be cut short I would have made every single moment count.” —Johnson

“I would have done differently is taken advantage of every moment and every opportunity. After losing the second half of my senior year, this is even more true. These moments and opportunities include everything from swings on the softball field to hanging out with friends to joining student organizations. Thinking back on these, I wish I took advantage of every single one of them and said ‘yes’ more often.” —Atkins

“One thing I would have done differently is—Nothing. I am beyond happy with the experience I've created at Endicott with my daughter Zoeigh by my side.” —McLear

“I wish I had gotten involved more with different Endicott experiences.” —Laurenza

“I would have gone out and did more campus activities earlier on during my time at Endicott.” —Cameron

What is something valuable you learned from an Endicott friend?

“One thing I learned from an Endicott friend named Mikeala Rogers is to always be true to who you are and that the right people will form friendships with you. She showed that to me by always giving me encouragement and always making me feel welcome when I entered a room. She is a dear friend that helped make my experience at Endicott so worthwhile.” —McGuire

“All of my friends that I’ve made at Endicott have shown me an unrelentless amount of love and support. They’ve taught me the importance of showing up for people who care about you. They’re my forever people.” —Cresson

“I learned to be proud of who I was and to never apologize for being myself. If someone doesn’t like me for me then why would I want them in my life? This is something I will always remember and appreciate that my friend taught me.” —Johnson
Leah Laurenza
“Stay true to yourself no matter what. College is a rollercoaster, but it is the best ride you will take. Shining your light and finding the people that are there to help you grow are so important to make the best of your four years at Endicott.” —Atkins

“You're never alone. I've met some amazing friends while at Endicott and most have turned into family. My daughter Zoeigh—who is six—has more friends on campus, and that is something I notice, but enjoy every moment of.” —McLear

“There's nothing a little food can't fix, I'll miss our late-night Lodge trips!” —Laurenza

Where do you see yourself in five years?

“In five years, I hope to see myself working at an investment firm in a client service department. I have a passion for helping others and for learning how to manage money strategically.” —McGuire

“Telling stories. Doing what I love.” —Cresson

“In five years, I hope to be the General Manager of a four- or five-star restaurant, hopefully in a hotel. I want to be traveling all over the world and learning as much as I can in an industry that I love.” —Johnson

“In the fall, I will be attending Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. In five years, I see myself as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine pursuing a residency in a surgical specialty for horses or small animals.” —Atkins
Nicholas Cameron “I'll be finished with my Master’s Degree in Homeland Security in 2021 and will have a career working as a data analyst or HSI Agent. There may be a possibility of another degree too within that timeframe.” —McLear

“Potentially getting another degree, working in a hospital and serving as a preceptor for Endicott nursing students. Let’s be honest, nobody can really stray that far away from the Nest.” —Laurenza

“In five years, I see myself working with a good hotel company or just a hotel in general.” —Cameron

Congratulations Class of 2020, we know you are going to do amazing things. After all, every day is a Great Day to be a Gull.

Endicott College commencement