Remember Your Graduation?

We asked a few of our nearly 700 undergrads in the Class of 2013 to tell us more…about their time at Stetson and their next steps.

Here is what they told us...

Elly Bludworth

Elly Bludworth

Political science major

San Diego, Calif.

Next Step: City Year Orlando

"A Stetson degree, to me, means that I spent four years of my life working harder than most can really comprehend. I spent countless hours studying and writing papers, but I truly understood the subject through that. A Stetson degree means that I often interacted with professors and other students…it means that I was always important. A Stetson degree means that I got to be a part of student organizations where my voice was actually heard. It also means that I was always in good company; I always knew that I had friends to go to when things got a little too stressful. To my employers, I imagine that it reflects how dedicated I was to my major and to my school. I had a quality education, and I believe my degree exemplifies that.

"Being an RA for three years allowed me to meet a ton of people I would have probably not met otherwise. Honestly, some of my favorite memories include having my residents stop by my room to tell stories about their days. Working in Residential Living and Learning, and specifically interacting with younger residents, inspired me to want to work with younger people. I enjoy being a mentor, which is what I will be doing with City Year Orlando, working with at-risk youth. I feel as if I might want to continue this work later on. I am super excited to work with younger people and encourage them to love school as much as I have."

Jamie Barlow

Jamie Barlow

Elementary education major

Port Saint Lucie, Fla.

Next Step: Teaching at Kasetsart University Laboratory School International Program in Bangkok, Thailand

"I just graduated in December with my teaching degree and certificate, and I chose to move to a whole different country to spend my first year as a teacher, my first time living on my own, first time out of the United States…and I came by myself. This was a big jump, but I feel that the education program at Stetson prepared me to take this leap professionally as a teacher and also to be open-minded and strong enough to handle any new situations in life. I talked with multiple professors about this opportunity, and they have been nothing but supportive and encouraging -- especially when my plane arrived late and I missed my connecting flight in Beijing, China, and had to stay over. I was frantic, but they were sending me emails reassuring me things would be okay. I knew going into this I was not alone.

"Not being able to walk in the May Commencement because I was here in Thailand was difficult because Stetson has had such a positive influence and impact in my life that I wanted to be able to celebrate all of my hard work that I have put into my time at Stetson. But I know that the friends that I have met will become lifelong, and the memories that I have created at Stetson will be with me forever."

Follow Jamie as she writes from Thailand this year at

James Van Druten

James Van Druten

Guitar performance major

Winter Haven, Fla.

Next Step: Graduate assistantship at Appalachian State University

"Stetson really helped transform me into not only a confident musician and performer but a diverse and worldly individual who has been introduced to all kinds of people and cultures. I think Stetson really surprised me in the way it helped me become a diverse and open-minded human being.

"Attending weekly recitals given by internationally acclaimed artists hosted by the School of Music were exceptionally special. Sitting in Lee Chapel and listening to those recitals really inspired me and had a profound effect on my development as a musician. This summer I'll be competing in two classical guitar competitions and also attending the biggest classical guitar convention in the world, in Louisville, Ky. I have been very fortunate to be awarded a graduate scholarship and assistantship; I'll be teaching a guitar class for beginners while I pursue my master's in guitar performance. I'm very excited about this new journey in my life and can't wait to begin my studies at ASU."

Follow James as he documents his life of music after Stetson at