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Monday, May 2, 2011

Welcome, My Friends, to Life

I graduated high school in 2006. I vividly remember that day (being the commencement speaker in 110 degree New Mexico heat outside on the football field) and the awesome feeling I experienced as I walked across the stage, hearing my family and friends yell for me, and happily tossed my tassel to the other side. Then I went and partied with my fam.

Because I knew what I wanted to study from day 1 at NMSU, I managed to get through college in four years, a feat that is damn near impossible UNLESS you never change your major, you declare early, and you have a degree that can be done in four years. I happened to have all three criteria met so I graduated, on time, in May 2010.

Since then, I have been happily living in the real world (sometimes, happily, sometimes, really pout-ily. Is that a word?). I have Boyfriend and Shadow and a cute house and money (which is awesome). I get paid vacations and paid holidays. I go to meetings. It's all so grown up. (I may have negated the grown up-ness by calling it "grown up". Whatev)

But next week, a huge bunch of my friends will be graduating from NMSU after taking the five year route. I'm so, so proud of them- my first college roommate (Danielle, holla girl), my sorority roommate (Kelsey), another sorority sister (Trish!), and another good friend (Ellie) will be joining me in the real world (or going to grad school!).

I'm so excited to see my friends enter life after undergraduate studies. It's a great experience and although I miss having summers off, I love the feeling of doing something valuable for my community with my job. I might not be the most important person in my company, but I'm gaining experience for myself and I really feel like I'm a contributing member of society.

In honor of my friends graduating, I've decided to make a list of advice I wish I had been given before graduating college with my undergrad degree:
  •  Do not take yourself too seriously. Nobody else will.
  • Start a 401(k) IMMEDIATELY, before you get used to the extra money.
  • Don't think that you can still go out every night of the week and still look professional to your boss. You can't. Nobody can.
  • Evaluations do matter.
  • You HAVE to brush your hair/look presentable/stop wearing hoodies/stop wearing pajamas. You're an adult.
  • It is not a crime to use your accrued vacation.
  • Experience is as valuable as a master's. A master's is as valuable as experience. Neither is more important. If you have both, that's the best.
  • Study the things you want to study. It's never too late to get a master's in something you like.
  • When you have your own place, get a pet. Get a fish, get a cat, get a puppy... but get something that depends on you. Shadow keeps me on a schedule.

     Good luck, Class of 2011! I'm so proud of you!

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