Former Cougar Chronicle Sports Editor cautions students to explore the workfield before grad school

Justin Donner graduated in 2014 with a bachelors in business administrations.

Justin Donner graduated in 2014 with a bachelors in business administrations.

Shanice Davis, Features Editor


As former Cougar Chronicle Sports Editor Justin Donner walked across the stage, it was only a matter of time before he’d pursue bigger and better things.

In 2014, Donner graduated with his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management and entrepreneurship.

Prior to attending CSUSM, Donner was a student at Reedley College in Central Valley. During his freshman and sophomore years there, he played baseball before getting recruited by CSUSM in 2011. His life as an athlete was short lived due to an elbow injury.

After his injury, he focused more on school and became more involved on campus by serving as the Sports Editor for The Cougar Chronicle, joining the Pre-Law Society and being active within the College of Business Administration community while simultaneously working for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

Since graduating, Donner has gone on to further his education at UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco to pursue his Juris Doctor degree with a focus in business law. He also works as a Research Assistant tracking litigation and other legal matters.

“I don’t have much of a life right now. It has been a grind. I hope to make concurrent use out of my business degree and legal education,” said Donner.

Of all the different organizations and skills acquired while at CSUSM, Donner asserts that he was provided the stepping stones he needed in order to survive in the the real world.

“I learned invaluable networking skills from the College of Business [Administration] by taking part in as many events and interactions as possible. Networking is a huge facet of law, and I think it gave me an advantageous head start.

“…The editor position with The Cougar Chronicle helped in similar ways. You learn networking and management skills by reaching out for interviews and ensuring your section comes together every publication,” he said.

Even though his days are occupied by law, Donner looks forward to his future endeavours to come, including getting married in the fall of 2016, graduating in the spring of 2017 and settling down.

Until the next chapter begins, Donner lives by a Benjamin Disraeli quote that helps him get through the daily stressors of being a busy law student: “The secret of success in life is for a man [or woman] to be ready for opportunity when it comes.”  

“This quote reminds me of an article I read a long time ago that detailed 10 reasons why you won’t be successful. Unless you change, of course. Procrastination was one of them,” said Donner.

And for those who plan on tackling grad school, Donner urges that one is absolutely certain about their investment.

“Think long and hard before jumping into law school or graduate school in general.  I have classmates who rushed to law school because they were unsure of where to go after graduation.  It is too large of an investment, both emotionally and financially, to rush into without heavy consideration,” he said.

Donner said that getting a job post-graduation may help students find what their next step should be.

“Regardless of your career goals, I would actually encourage students to explore a job after graduation. The time off will help you zero in on exactly what you want to do, graduate school will always be there.  However, if you find yourself staring at the clock on the wall while working, it’s time to change.”