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SMC alumna discusses political career

| Tuesday, September 1, 2015

MC alumna London Lamar describes the path her career in political science has taken at the Rice Commons at Saint Mary’s on Monday.Becki Jeren
SMC alumna London Lamar describes the path her career in political science has taken at the Rice Commons at Saint Mary’s on Monday.

Saint Mary’s graduate London Lamar returned to campus Monday, and discussed the benefits of her political science degree and encouraged students to make the most of their time in college.

Lamar, who graduated from the College in 2013 and currently serves as president of the Tennessee Young Democrats, said she recognizes the importance of remaining true to her passions.

“I’ve always been involved in politics,” Lamar said. “I decided to expand on my interests when I came to Saint Mary’s. I wanted to see my personal platform be expanded.”

According to Lamar, students should view college as an opportunity to experiment with different classes and interests.

“If you’re not sure where you want to go in life, dabble here at Saint Mary’s so that when you jump out into the world, you have a more clear idea of where you want to go,” Lamar said. “Then once you find out what you like, go into it with full force.”

Lamar said she attributes her success to her time at Saint Mary’s, as well as her semester in Washington, D.C., which provided her with the hands-on experience necessary to stand out.

“I took advantage of a lot of the opportunities I had here at Saint Mary’s, which has really helped propel my career,” Lamar said. “It’s really hard to get a job after college. You have to be able to distinguish yourself from the rest. You have to make yourself be a shining star.”

Lamar said that people should not rely solely on academics and experience, though, because networking serves an equally valuable role.

“It’s not about what you know,” Lamar said. “It’s about who you know. Make sure you build connections with people who can help set you apart and get you where you want to go.”

According to Lamar, social media plays a larger role than ever, so she advised students to market themselves and portray themselves in the best light possible.

“I cannot express how critical your social media is,” Lamar said.

She observed firsthand the competitive nature of her profession when she ran for the Tennessee Democratic Party State Executive Committee in 2014, Lamar said. Although she did not win, she said the experience only strengthened her desire to succeed.

“It was really hard because I had to go out there and convince people to vote for me against people who are way older,” she said. “In a competitive workforce, you always want to be number one. That experience empowered me. It created a fire in me.”

Lamar said her achievements would not be possible without the foundation she established while at Saint Mary’s, so she encouraged students to work hard and become involved.

“I have crafted my path to leadership based on the brand I started at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “I really want to stress how important taking advantage of experiences is.”

She said she understands that college is a busy time but encouraged students to rise to the occasion and always extend their best effort.

“Put yourself out there to be better than the rest,” Lamar said. “Right now, you have a lot of opportunities to be great. Be great.”

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About Martha Reilly

Martha is a senior majoring in English literature and political science. She currently serves as Saint Mary's editor but still values the Oxford comma in everyday use.

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