How Did College Not Change Justine Grace

Name: Justine Grace
Majors: Journalism; Political Science
Graduation Year: 2016
Hometown: Gulf Breeze, Florida
Current Residence: Fort Worth, Texas

From midnight dance parties and best friends living across the hall to suddenly wanting to go to bed at 7:30 p.m.… what gives? As Justine Grace ’16 puts it, “You just mastered the student game, then you graduate and the rules are all different.” Grace graduated in 2016 from Texas Christian University with a double degree in journalism and political science, but she didn’t quite know what the working world had in store for her.

After graduation, Grace started out looking for jobs, but soon found a graduate program that focused on exactly what she wanted to study instead. Although the path looks different for everyone, Grace recommends keeping your options open post-grad – it’s possible graduate school could be right for you, too. Today, Grace has a Master of Education in educational leadership with a specialization in higher education. She said that the work ethic she fostered in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication set her up for success in graduate school at Southern Methodist University. “My journalism major developed my writing, communication and research skills which can serve you well in any discipline.”

After completing her Master of Education, Grace came back to her roots at Texas Christian University and works as an academic advisor for the John V. Roach Honors College. Although the day-to-day routine is different as a working professional, Grace credits skills learned in her undergraduate career for a smooth transition into the job market. She is not in the journalism field, but she relates degree and academic information to students and campus partners in a clear, concise manner. “My journalism training prepped me to do this quickly and correctly,” she said.

Grace treasures her time as an undergraduate, but she notes that working at TCU is quite different than being a student. “For starters, there are not nearly as many free t-shirt opportunities,” she said.

Grace’s personal motto, “kindness matters,” has helped her become more confident as an academic advisor. “My dad passed away while I was in college, and I learned that I am more resilient than I ever could have thought,” she said. It was through the support of her friends, family, TCU faculty and staff that she knew higher education was meant for her – she wanted to serve students the same way her past TCU professors had served her.

Grace ended up where she is today because of encouraging words that others provided her while at TCU. She avidly tries to live by the advice one of her undergraduate professors gave her: “Don’t assume. Get it right. No clichés.” Grace said that those words are instilled in her as a base for each workday and it is a constant reminder that her heart will always be with TCU.

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