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U.S. News and World Report's latest article, "College Seniors: Know These 4 Financial Tips for Your Last Month of College," is worth a read. Reporter Susannah Snider offers four easy suggestions that might make these last weeks before graduation less stressful. Her tips are included below.

"Head to the financial aid office. Sorry, students, but your student loans will come due faster than you can say "income-based repayment."

For most federal loans, you'll have a six-month grace period before repayment is due (typically in November for May graduates). Private student loans may come due even sooner. Take your last month on campus to schedule a face-to-face sit-down with your friendly financial aid administrator to ask any questions about your repayment options, including deferment and forbearance. Make sure, also, that your student loan servicer has up-to-date contact information if you're changing addresses or will no longer be checking your college email address.

Discover your credit score. If you don't know what your credit score is – or how to maintain a strong credit score – now is the time to investigate. It'll give you a sense of your financial strength and prepare you to keep your score healthy in the future.

You can get your credit score for free from a number of resources, including Credit Karma, and Credit Sesame, typically in exchange for your personal information. Your credit card issuer may even keep you updated on your score by placing it in your monthly statement. "Frankly, as a young person – you're just starting to get a credit card – I'd recommend getting a credit card from a company that's going to give you [your score] for free," says John Pelletier, director of the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College. You can also check your credit history by requesting a free report from one of the three credit-reporting bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – at This is also a great strategy to discover any private student loan debt you have on the books (those private loans in your name should be noted on the credit report).

Prepare for transitional expenses. Ideally, you should have an emergency savings account stocked with three to six months' worth of living expenses. But let's be honest: That's a pretty tall order for a cash-strapped college student.

At the minimum, though, you should be squirreling away enough money to fund the transitional expenses that will undoubtedly arise when you leave campus. "It costs money to move, and not all employers will pay for the transition," Barnett says. Keep in mind that starting your new life may require hiring a moving truck, slapping down a security deposit on a new apartment and buying new, work-appropriate clothes for your job.

Start saving for these expenses now – and directing any graduation gifts to a savings account – and you won't need to call the Bank of Mom and Dad or, worse, put those expenses on a credit card.

Find a job. If you're still searching for a job during your last month before graduation, keep at it. "If you're a college student right now, you should be prioritizing this as much as you're prioritizing your classes," says Liz Wessel, CEO and co-founder of WayUp, a job marketplace for students and recent grads.

If you're still on the hunt, Wessel recommends looking in smaller markets where the pay may not be sky-high but the cost of living is really low. She also suggests sitting down with any professors, advisors and professional contacts who can give you good job-search advice while you're still a student. "Get all that free advice from people who are paid – it's what they do for a living – to help you," she says. It's easier to do this now than when you're a few months out of school, she says."

News from senior Meghan Loveless, who has been a digital communications intern at Stanley Black and Decker. She writes:

"I am extremely excited to announce that I have accepted a full-time position with Stanley Black and Decker post graduation! I will be working as a social media coordinator on their social team. I could not be happier to be able to start my career at a company that I have grown to love over the years. I could not have done it without everyone who helped me get to where I am today!"

Wow! Senior/graduate Business Communication student Caroline Izzi (inset) hand created the paper flower decor that stunned event-goers on Sunday, April 29, who attended the Residence Life banquet and awards ceremony. Flowers adorned a photo wall, the stage, and each banquet table. (Photo from Facebook)

Business Communication alumni and former adjunct professor Cari Cramer Pierce writes on Facebook about her new space. Congratulations, Cari!

Three and a half years ago, I opened a training studio. It was a great space. It was an important step. It was a commitment to my community that needed better training options and better trainers. It was the start of a journey.

Over the years, I’ve worked tirelessly to invest in my education. To ask questions. To seek answers. To follow the science, the evidence. To be a better trainer every day. I can honestly say, without ego, I’m crushing the game on this front.

Yesterday, this journey passed a tremendous benchmark in the opening of our new studio location at 19 Liberty Street in Westminster. It’s more the studio I imagined 3 1/2 years ago and yet so much more yet! It’s good stuff. And good stuff will happen here. I’m honored and humbled to be entrusted by my clients to help them grow and change.

The journey to total health and wellness can be challenging. It’s a puzzle of many pieces, exercise and nutrition being only two of those components. If your trainer or gym aren’t talking to you about ALL of the pillars of total health, maybe it’s time to FLIP YOURS.

Keep doing what you’re doing; keep getting what you’re getting. Or...

Change your thinking. Change your actions. Change your life.

The 109th Eastern Communication Association's conference, held in Pittsburgh April 25-29, 2018, was planned by the association's vice president, Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus, who will go on to become president of the ECA for 2018-2019.  Eight students, accompanied by Business Communication faculty members Stephanie Verni and Chip Rouse, worked the conference in logistics, registration, social media, food service, and technology, in addition to presenting their work in three panels.

The eight students were Adrienne Civetti, Ben Wanaselja, Courtney Hottle, Kamica Price, Meghan Loveless, Matthew Patti, Grace Clark, and Kaya Roberts.

Bell McManus, Verni and Rouse also sat on a panel about event planning and the communication curriculum, and Verni moderated a panel about The Mill course she taught in which the ECA was a client. Master's graduate and current adjunct Michael MacFee spoke about his graduate research in the form of a poster during the graduate presentations.

Kaya Roberts presented her research on Game of Thrones, while Courtney Hottle spoke about her experiences as vice president of Lambda Pi Eta as part of a panel on student organizations.

The group enjoyed a dinner together at the top of the Duquesne Incline, Pittsburgh's authentic iconic wooden cable car climb up to the top of Mt. Washington.

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