From Graduation to Greatness



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Hallelujah! That’s probably how you felt when you handed in your last paper and took your last final.

Flashback about 30 days ago you were in great anticipation of walking across the stage, shaking hands with the president of the college, turning your tassel and celebrating commencement with your friends, and family.

Today is different.

Graduation has come, your moment on stage has passed, and the fanfare has died down.

Reality is starting to settle in; YOU’RE FINISHED.

You’ve graduated. Congratulations.

Did you know that the word graduation has its roots and etymology with the Latin word ‘gradus’ which means to STEP toward?

Fascinating, huh?

When you graduated from college you actually stepped toward something, so my question to you is what are you stepping toward? Before you answer that question the first thing I want you to do is to stop, reflect and appreciate yourself as a college graduate. Truly embrace your inner genius, your fortitude and courage that you’ve employed to get to this point in your journey.

Trust me when I say this, you’re an anomaly.   Almost 50% of people who enter college end up dropping out, but not you.

You pushed through.

You stayed the course.

You worked two jobs, juggled an internship, stayed up late and wrote papers in the middle of the night.

Women like you are SUPER FLY or as Maya Angelou would say, “You’re a phenomenal woman.”

I’m actually gushing over your exceptional drive, your beautiful spirit and extraordinary determination, because I truly understand that your graduation is a result of grit and grace. I applaud you.

But, I want to get back to my original question, what are you stepping towards?

I strongly believe that graduation is your step towards GREATNESS.

Greatness is about being “big in size.”

Graduation is about having a degree of knowledge in a particular field of study.

Greatness is about showing up alive, full and in your true power.

Graduation is about releasing you into your new career path, completely prepared to become a practicing journalist, a remarkable teacher, a creative director, or whatever unique and innovative career path that’s calling you.

I remember the morning of my graduation. I was ridden with excitement, a tad bit nervous and totally unprepared for the dreaded question, what are you going to do next year? I had ten minutes before I had to meet my friends in the quad, but my nerves started getting the best of me, I suddenly felt a strong tingling sensation of butterflies in my stomach. I stood in the mirror, and took one last look at my room. I realized that I would be moving out within 24-hours. I looked down at my watch, and quickly sectioned out the last part of my hair, picked up the curling iron and wrapped my hair around it in attempt to get the perfect curl. I threw on my cap and gown and flew out the door. Walking across the stage was surreal for me and after receiving a bachelor’s degree, a California Clear multiple subject teaching credential and a Master’s Degree in Human Development over the past ten years, I can say with confidence that if you don’t undergird these achievements with inner greatness you’ll never become the woman that God has called you to be.

I urge you to ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What am I stepping towards?
  2. How can I use my gifts to create a career filled with purpose and passion?
  3. In what ways can I show up bigger, better and bolder?

As you answer these questions, you’ll know without a shadow of a doubt what you’re stepping towards.

I commend you.




Queenie Johnson, is a Female Success Brand Strategist & Mindset Mastery Maven. She is the founder of and works with corporate leaders and modern women that are on mission to change the world with their God-given gifts. Her VIP coaching and business consulting clients learn how to break through their glass ceiling, unlock their hidden genius and increase their influence so that they can build a career and business they absolutely love. You can contact Queenie at .

Going out in Style: Perfect Graduation Outfits

Graduation is approaching fast! Stuck between making the most of your final days, saying goodbyes, and getting excited about starting the next chaper in your life…

But the real question is, What are you going to wear?

You have taken a lot of time the past four years to craft the perfect wardrobe that is just the right amount of adorable blouses, comfy sweats and a few “business professional” items but none of that is going to make the cut.  IT’S GRADUATION DAY, no fear here are a few looks to help you looking great all day.


Prepster: Give your collegiate look a makeover by adding bight colors to your basics such as this hot pink pencil skirt and canary yellow blazer. Pair these bold pieces with a gold watch, strapy crème heels and shimmer lipgolss to create an overall finish.


Classic: A timeless look, this dress is just the right amount of sophistication. Blush and nude acessories give this outfit a feminie feel and keeps the mood light for spring. A swipe of eyeliner, pink lip-goss and a pack of tissues will keep you fresh throughout the day.


Funky: Feeling playful? This vibrant asymetrical dress and floral & striped heels are just what you need! Paired with a clear crossbody to keep your “snacks for later” in. Add a pastel nail polish and fancy studs to complete this outfit.

What look with you choose? Eiher way have fun with it. Make sure you stock up on the waterproof mascara, tissues and cadies to share with your friends. Let us know what your wearing to graduation by sharing your outfits and inspiration @UBlushMagazine!

Written by: Sydney Cologie dream “job” is doing PR for a fashion magazine or retail company. She enjoy reading my horoscope and am often spilling hot coffee on myself. Inspired by city life, swing sets, and oversized sweaters the world is her oyster. Making up new words & watching cartoons are just a few of her favorite pastimes along with buying unnecessary calendars and dreaming of owning a kitten.

Going Out In Style: Perfect Graduation Looks


Graduation marks a huge milestone in our lives. We’re growing up, moving on and discovering ourselves, and our makeup choices should resemble how amazing we feel.

From graduation ceremony to post-grad festivities to a celebratory night out with the girls, the perfect makeup has the ability to reflect how amazing we feel. These stunning makeup trends have a perfect mix of personality and class. Graduation ceremony is often long, hot and boring, but the right makeup can liven up the day. With hundreds of photos being taken form start to finish, it’s important to focus on your natural beaut. A timeless look makes for not only great photographs but for people to focus on you and not just your makeup.


Naya Rivera shows us the perfect look for graduation ceremony. With a simple eye and simple lip, these girls are able to turn heads with their natural beauty. But going simple doesn’t mean ditching the color.

To achieve this look, make sure to have a great base and good mascara. From there, choose a light pink or tan eye shadow that complements your skin. To make your natural beauty really stand out, make sure to add a hint of blush to liven up the cheeks and a slightly pink nude lipstick. Try NAR’s nude pink lipstick for the perfect shade to add just enough color to your ceremony look.


Post-graduation ceremony is always filled with family and close friends. The people that know you the best already know how truly amazing you are, so don’t be afraid to add some color. Focusing on your natural beauty with a twist, an addition of color will lead to showcasing your true personality.

Rihanna has a knack for staying true to herself while looking chic at the same time. Her bold use of color is perfect for a post-graduation party. As usual, make sure to have a great base, but this time try Urban Decay’s baked bronzer for a subtle shine. Feel free to go for a slightly winged liner and heavy mascara to make the look your own. Then finish off with some show-stopping lip color such as Smashbox’s electric coral for the perfect finish to a standout look.


A celebratory night out with the girls can be anything from grabbing a few drinks to a full-blown party. This is your night to celebrate and your makeup should reflect that, so don’t be afraid to go bold and add some darker colors.

Megan Fox has some of the perfect night-on-the-town makeup looks to replicate for a memorable night. To achieve this look, focus on the deep plum and smoke grey color palette. The easiest way to stick to a great color palette is to invest in an eye set with the colors already matched. Bobbi Brown’s soho chic eye palette makes for the perfect recipe for stunning makeup on your night out. Pair that with the line’s dark red wine lipstick and you’ll have the perfect makeup for a memorable night.

No matter what the graduation occasion it’s important to reflect your true personality and let your natural beauty shine. The right makeup has the ability to make you look and feel your best while your doing your much-deserved celebrating.

Written by: Kali Borovic As a student journalist, this fashionista, stargazing enthusiast and fitness aficionado loves to write about anything from health to fashion. With a passion for DIY projects and cooking, this Ohio born writer spends most of her time looking up new crafts or coming up with at-home beauty recipes for her blog, Naturally Beautiful. Kali loves to read about any topic under the sun and knows that life is best spent in lipstick, leggings and an oversized sweater.

Debt For Diploma



After years of studying, countless hours of hard work, going to classes, all nighters, and working multiple jobs, you made it! The day you walk across the stage to have your higher education degree conferred to you is like walking on clouds. From a Bachelors degree, to a Masters, or perhaps the highest honors of a Professional degree, you  put in the time and effort and finally reap the reward – a diploma. As you partake in celebrations you inevitably hear that fateful question from well intentioned family and friends, “So, what’s next?”

This answer can be anxiety provoking for some – post graduation plans come with their own set of worries. It’s no secret that our job market differs from that our parent’s generation. Though the economy is slowly rebuilding itself employment, especially for recent grads, takes time to secure. Many graduates find themselves working odd jobs in order to make ends meet because of difficulties attaining employment in their field of study. In 2011 about 1.5 million (over half) of young adults under 25 years old who held a bachelors degree were either unemployed or underemployed. These startling statistics were the highest they have been in 11 years.

Adding to their stress load is that six month dark cloud when student loan payments begin. On top of finding sustainable employment in their respective field of interest, graduates face paying back the money they had to borrow in order to earn a diploma – the vicious “Debt For Diploma” cycle. But why? Budget_Graph_Final01

University Funding

Funding sources for colleges and universities contribute to the debt for diploma system. At the dawn of this country elite private schools like Harvard and Columbia were a privilege for the wealthy class. Public universities, funded through the state and federal government were created to provide quality and affordable education for all qualified Americans. Prestigious public institutions like the University of California system have educated some of the brightest in this country at a fraction of the cost of a private school.

However, public universities have went from “State Funded” to merely “State Supported.” This means that instead of the majority of funding coming from government sources, only fraction of the cost to run the institution comes from monies received from the state and federal government. For example, state funding for the University of California has fallen 54% since 1990. The UC system receives only 18% of its funding sources from state and federal contracts and 11% from state general funds.  This means that the UC system has to harness additional funds from other sources in order to continue to provide hugh quality education to its students – contributing to the rising cost of education.


Cost of College

The high costs to attend college and the shifting sources of paying for college are at the helm of the student loan debt crisis.

Public universities’ cost of attendenace has continuously risen, undermining their intent to provide affordable education to middle and lower income students. After adjusting for inflation, since1980 the cost of public universities has more than doubled. Adding the cost of room and board and adjusting for inflation the average cost to attend a public university is equivalent to the cost of attending a private institution a generation ago. From 2008 to 2010 the average cost of four year institutions, both rose 15%. For example, according to the Department of Education, the cost to attend Pennsylvania State University is 19,816, for tuition and board. The cost of a private school education is even more. After grants and scholarship aid, the net cost for an incoming student attending Harvard is $18,277.

Students are working longer hours, accumulating unprecedented amounts of debt and taking longer to graduate in order to close the gap between the costs of college and financial aid.”

Whereas government programs like the GI bill and other grants make it possible for millions of Americans to attend college, federal student aid has shifted from primarily grants to student loans.  In order to meet the costs to attending college, an overwhelming amount of students must utilize the loan system.

The average college student graduates with $26, 500 of debt. Even more, graduate students with masters and professional degrees, can easily leave school with student loan debt in excess of $50,000 to $100,000. Additional problems include the interests rates on student loans that are set to increase on July 1st, making it even more difficult for students to be debt free.

 Good Debt?

Student loan debt might be considered “good debt” compared to credit card debt and debt from depreciating items like clothes and cars. This point of view recognizes that over one’s lifetime a person with a bachelors degree will earn about $1 million more than someone without a college degree. However, earnings to cost of living today is in peril compared to previous decades. For example, male college graduate earnings have remained stagnant for thirty years and women college graduates have only earned about 10% more than the previous generation. College educated women still earn less than college educated men. Though the cost of college has risen, rises in earnings have not followed suit.

Combined with the trouble of finding employment and higher wages, it is difficult to move forward. Instead of students graduating and starting at zero, students with loans start out at a deficit. Given the economic issues we face – stagnate wages and rising costs of living, it becomes a system where graduates’ income is tied up in the cost of survival – paying bills and paying loans. Students with $50,000 in student loan debt, 16% of borrowers, may very well face a monthly payment of $450. With an average starting salary of $44,455 a year, a $450 payment is a sizable amount of  $3,704 paycheck before taxes, other bills and living expenses. This minimizes the excess money one has to save, presenting trouble in owning property and accumulating wealth – the ultimate American dream and the key to viability in a capitalist society.Debtdiplomafinancial-freedom-systems

Tips to Financial Freedom

Higher education is celebrated and it’s important to note that upon obtaining one’s degree there are guideslines in place to aid students who have acquired debt.

Know what you owe: It’s important for an individual to know how much you owe before graduate and budget for it. Don’t let your student loan debt accumulate without your knowledge, be on top of it. Speak to your financial aid office, financial planners, and loaner to know what your payment options will be and plan for it.  Download Credit Karma application onto your phone or computer for up-to-date information on your debt.

Loan Forgiveness Programs: Do your research and find programs that offer loan forgiveness.

Multiple Streams of Income: Make your passion work for you.  Find ways to supplement your main source of income. This might mean that you utilize your hobbies and make financial investments so you have different sources of income – just in case of a rainy day.

Be in the Know: Research legislation, like the Student Loan Fairness Act (H.R. 1330) and politicians, like Representative Karen Bass and Elizabeth Warren, who are presenting solutions to address the student loan debt crisis. Utilize your voice, vote, and lobby your local representative – let them know where you stand on this issue!

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