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Amy Molitor (B.S., 2012); MPA student, University of Colorado Denver (online), and substitute teacher, Neenah Joint School District

Amy Molitor crossed the graduation platform in Kolf in 2012 and really wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. There are always a lot of options open to successful students like Amy, but it wasn’t clear after graduation which path she should pursue. “[After graduation],I took a leap and moved to Chicago without a plan, but with the idea of graduate school constantly floating around in the back of my mind,” Amy writes. To make ends meet, she took a job at the American Girl store there and enjoyed it very much; she quickly advanced in the company. Eventually, she was offered the opportunity to manage the American Girl outlet store in Oshkosh and she jumped at the chance. But things didn’t quite go according to plan: “The outlet closed a little over a year later, and I recognized it as an opportunity to step out of the easy, comfortable life I’d been leading and take a chance on what I really wanted to do.”

What she really wanted to do — and what had been in the back of her mind since graduation — was enter a Master’s program in Public Administration. She did exactly that in Fall 2016. “Although I’m only one semester into my MPA, I’m already invigorated and intrigued by the classes and the content, and find knowledge from the Leadership Ethics class already filtering into how I process events every day. My favorite thing about the program is the variety of class offerings and the diversity of the students also enrolled in the program,” Amy tells us. “It’s a privilege to learn from and about other points of view. My biggest challenge so far has been getting to this point in my life where I finally feel that I’m on a path to make an impact in the world, but I’m here now and all I can do is put everything I have into it.”

Amy knows that her path was definitely not linear, but she’s learned and grown a lot. As a result, she has a lot of advice for current students who might be feeling like she was. “My indecision and insecurity were my biggest roadblocks in getting where I needed to go. I’m sure there are other students facing similar problems who aren’t sure what exactly they want to do, but the classes you are in stimulate and interest you. I was given the push to self-examine from an external source, but my advice is to not wait. Figure out where in life you will be the happiest and most fulfilled, and make that your destination,” she writes. “But on a more practical note, look for opportunities and experiences in your field and take advantage! And if you are thinking about getting your master’s, know that it’s never too late! I waited four years after graduating before I enrolled and it feels like not a single day has gone by. It’s never too late to go for what you want!”

Amy can clearly see the benefits of her Political Science background. “I know from experience that research papers are one of the most stressful assignments in the program, but the skills gained from doing that research are invaluable. Learning to make decisions based on solid evidence and to critically assess articles and papers is something that everyone could use, whether in your career, in graduate school or in daily life reading the newspaper. Don’t take anything you are learning for granted!”

Leaping into the unknown or making a big change like Amy did can be stressful and scary, but sometimes you just have to do it to create the life you want to live. Know that we have lots of alums who are here to help reassure and advise you as you make your way in the world, and a faculty whose support endures long after you’ve received that coveted diploma! UW Oshkosh #titansare