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If Megan Thompson could do anything over again since starting college, she’d buy a raincoat.

“An umbrella will do you no good when you have an armful of books and are trying to stuff a bagel in your mouth while sprinting down a sidewalk in the two minutes before class,” the Samford University student and Pell City resident said.  “I wish someone had told me to get a raincoat.”

She recently reflected on the approaching end of her senior year, explained how she’s balanced college and planning for her upcoming wedding, and offered two reasons why she hates beef jerky.

The biggest challenge facing college graduates: “I feel that, while the job market itself is challenging enough, another obstacle graduates face is more of an attitude toward job hunting. Many graduates feel ‘entitled’ after having graduated and are greatly disappointed when they find that they will not be making their ideal salary right off the bat.”

Advice she would give to high school seniors contemplating college?  “Apply for every scholarship you can. I don't care if you think the competition is too tough. Just write those essays and send them in.  You may be surprised at who thinks you're worthy of a scholarship. You've got nothing to lose, aside from an aching bank account four years from now, trust me.”

Wedding plans:  She and her fiancé have set an October ceremony.  “So far, my main problem has been asking my attendants. I am kind of a perfectionist, and I refuse to just give my girls a call and ask them to be bridesmaids. I'm coming up with creative ideas to ask them, which requires me setting up dates with the ones who live out of town without letting them catch on to what I'm planning. In a way, I know how my fiance must have felt trying to propose to me now.”

The proposal:  “Caleb told me he was planning a trip to one of our favorite cities, Charleston, S.C. We had been once before and fell in love with its charm. Once we were there, I found an ad for Middleton Place, an historic plantation and gardens. I just had to go. He took me the next day, and as we were strolling around the gardens, he told me to take a picture with something in the distance. As I was fiddling with my camera, he got down on one knee. He still makes fun of me because all I could say was, "What are you doing?" repeatedly.”

What she enjoys about Pell City: “We have run into the friendliest people here,” the Jasper native said.  “My fiance and I went for a walk at the park one day when it was warm, and every single person who passed us was beaming and nearly everyone said hello. Even while grocery shopping, we have come into contact with extraordinarily nice people. And, of course, we love the proximity to the lake.

The best advice she ever received:  “Don’t settle.  I’ve always tried to apply that.”

How she describes herself:  “I like to think I’m observant.  I feel like I’m pretty laid-back.  There are only a few things I get high-strung about.  I like to pretend I’m fashionable.  I hope I am.”

Megan Thompson fashion:  “I channel some 1950s housewife, and I love red lipstick.  I’d wear a red lip every single hour of every single day if I could.”

Her favorite hobby:  “I love Victorian doll houses.  I’ve been building one for about a year and making polymer clay miniatures to go inside it.”

If she were stranded on the hypothetical desert island with one meal, one CD, and one book:  “It would be any kind of pasta, Florence + the Machine's Lungs, and The Picture of Dorian Gray.”

The food she could eat every day:  “Lasagna.  My mom called me Garfield when I was a little girl.”

The food she never wants to eat again: “I despise beef jerky. I'm not sure if it's the taste or the smell. Just keep it away from me.”

If she could have a conversation with any historical figure, it would be:  “Martin Luther King Jr., though it wouldn't be as much a conversation as me listening to him in awe with my mouth gaping.  I'd like to imagine his words would somehow give me the gift of his courage and wisdom.”

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