Graduation letters: Stephanie Bluestein


Illustration by Brandon Sarmiento

Stephanie Bluestein

Stephanie Bluestein, Ed.D., is the chair of the journalism department at the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication. You can learn more about her here.

Letter to my younger self

May 27, 1988

Dear Stephanie,

I know you’re exhausted, working 40 to 50 hours a week at the Simi Valley Enterprise newspaper. It’s been a long last semester at CSUN, taking Journalism 370, Reporting Urban Life, Journalism 371, then called Women and the Media, and Journalism 499C, Independent Study. It’s the late 1980s and the CSUN journalism department doesn’t have any hybrid or online classes. Due to your demanding job, you aren’t always in class, but you persevered.

You put yourself in this challenging position because just as the previous semester was ending, you accepted an offer to launch your journalism career. With nine units to go before you were done with your degree, you juggled as best you could. But this spring semester has been a real grind and you’re ready for college to be over.

Looking back at your college years, let’s not focus on that lonely freshman year in which you earned a grand total of 18 units and a 2.0 GPA. Your discontentment led you to Los Angeles Valley College so you could contribute to the Valley Star newspaper (Unlike now, the Daily Sundial wasn’t welcoming to freshmen.) At LA Valley College, you knocked out your math and science general education classes, while reporting for the student newspaper and working at the video store. After three semesters, you returned to CSUN to finish up your bachelor’s degree. I’m proud of you for figuring out a path forward, even if your worried dad was terrified his only child would drop out of college.

Now that you have your professional life in front of you, here’s some advice:
1. Don’t worry so much about what other people think about you. Their opinions matter much less than you realize.
2. And on that same note, don’t take yourself too seriously.
3. Push yourself hard at work and don’t be afraid to fail. Odds are, you will either fully succeed or have a minor setback.
4. Nurture friendships. Some people will fade out of your life and some friendships no longer deserve your attention. But put effort into the healthy ones.
5. Be resourceful and seek help when you need it.
6. Your undergraduate grades don’t determine your future. Believe me, you can’t imagine in a million years where you’ll go in the academic world, both as a student and an educator. But first, you have some things to accomplish in the world of journalism.

Celebrate! You made it to the finish line! Now go out there and make a positive difference.

Stephanie Stassel Bluestein
B.A. Journalism, 1988, CSUN
M.A. Mass Communication, 2007, CSUN
Ed.D. Educational Leadership, 2012, CSUN