Alumni Advice: Gabrielle Cowand and Orlando Pimentel

Alumni Advice: Gabrielle Cowand and Orlando Pimentel

January 14, 2019

Other alumni advice features:

Graduation is the end goal of attending college, but getting there can be stressful. Hear from recent Grady grads about their life after graduation and what they wish they had known before entering into the “real world.”

What do you wish you had known before graduating?

Gabrielle Cowand, copywriter for Internal Communications at McKinsey & Co.: “I can honestly say, there’s nothing else I wish I would have known about life post-grad. I think in moving into the next stage of life, it’s kind of exciting to embrace the unknown. I thought I had it figured out, but once I got here, it’s so entirely different. Everyone needs a good surprise, and I’m glad I got the chance to figure it out on my own.”

Orlando Pimentel, assistant account executive in the research department of Porter Novelli’s Washington, D.C. office: “I wish I’d known faculty members of Grady and really every program at UGA are just as eager to help students navigate their college life as professors, and it’s OK to reach out to them for help.”

What did you learn outside the classroom that could have been helpful inside the classroom?

Industries outside the classroom

“Having so many awesome work experiences allowed me to try out communications in a lot of different industries I didn’t have access to in my classrooms. Learning about how to apply a journalism major to other practices is something I think a lot of students from my cohort wished we had available.” –Gabrielle Cowand

 Application of what you learn

“By my senior year, I figured out I did my best learning when I applied the lessons in class outside of the classroom setting. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mindset that, in order to learn, you have to hole yourself in a nook at the library and just endlessly repeat stuff until you get it. That didn’t really fulfill me, but when I got to apply my lessons in the real world, whether it be on a student organization or developing a campaign, it made the academic stuff feel less abstract and helped me connect the dots. Then, when I’d come to the next class, it became easier to understand the lessons because I could see where it’d fit. I wish I’d known this sooner because I would have done much more hands-on work.” –Orlando Pimentel

What advice do you have for current students now that you have seen the other side of graduating?

Get work experience

“It’s the single most important thing employers are looking for that will help you stand out as a job applicant. Every internship doesn’t need to be a Fortune 500 company, but being able to work your way up starts now. Prove you’ve got some grit, and take every opportunity you have to get out there and learn something new. Internships aren’t about just getting another company on your resume. They’re a chance to learn what you want, (or sometimes more often, don’t want) in your future career.” –Gabrielle Cowand


“Take advantage of the travel opportunities college provides, whether it’s an alternative spring break, study abroad program (domestic or international), or even just a tour of a facility a club or department is hosting, because it’s much cheaper than paying for travel, food, and lodging all by yourself. And don’t be discouraged if the prices for the programs aren’t something you can pay up front. If it’s some you really want to experience, save up, look into scholarships, or reach out to family members and loved ones for donations.” –Orlando Pimentel