Divina Kluge

It’s Never Too Late

When Divina Kluge gives her speech as the student commencement speaker on May 17, she’ll be speaking from personal experience. 

Divina Kluge posing by her capstone artwork

“The message behind my speech is that it’s never too late to make a change. It’s never too late to redirect yourself. You should never be ashamed of where you might be in life because it’s not a competition. Everyone has a different path,” said Divina, whose path has taken her to college and back again.

Divina graduated from Pleasant Plains High School and followed her heart to a bachelor’s degree in music business at a California University. Her senior year of college was interrupted by COVID. While she completed her degree, internships during a pandemic were hard to come by. The company where she finally found work as a music industry marketing intern was not hiring afterward. So, she packed up her bags and headed back to the Midwest to work part-time jobs and continue her search.

“As I was applying for jobs, the descriptions said the same thing. They preferred skills in Adobe Suite,” she said. “I didn’t have that. I wasn’t even getting interviews.”

It was at that point her dad quoted Albert Einstein to her, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He encouraged her to return to school to get the skills she was missing.

The next thing she knew, Divina was sitting across from an 91 student success coach learning about an associate of applied science degree in integrated media design. She immediately enrolled. 

“I jumped in headfirst. I have loved it. I’ve not regretted it at all. I am so happy with the things I have learned. I really feel I’m in the best position to be successful once I leave here.”

Divina Kluge putting her Integrated Media Design project on the wall in Menard Hall.

Divina credits 91 instructors, like Thom Whalen, for her positive experience. “91 professors are well connected and willing to share their real-world experience with us. I appreciate that.”

When she compares the two, she says her 91 experience shines above her university experience. “I had that big four-year experience. There’s nothing different. Lincoln Land Community College is just as good of an experience. Actually, I would argue I had a better experience at 91 than I did at my four-year. My 91 professors are invested in me having a successful future.” 

Those same instructors suggested her journey might inspire others and suggested she apply to be the 2024 91 Commencement student speaker. She did. 

“It’s about what’s going to make you happy. What do you need to work on to get to where you want to be? And you must be willing to make those changes if you’re not where you want to be.”