Today is graduation at BYU and I must say, it’s got me a bit nostalgic.
It’s so strange to me that one year ago, I was taking pictures with Randy, wearing my little cap and gown, huddled in the back of the de Jong Concert Hall waiting for my turn to walk.
I didn’t trip. I smiled at the Dean and other professors, giving big grins to my favorite ones, and it was done. I opened the folder with a faux diploma inside (the real one is mailed a few days later), snapped a couple pictures, and that was it. Three intense years of college, fast tracked and stressful, and I was done.
I’ve had lots of people ask me how I got done so fast, so here’s the short answer: lots of AP credit, consolidating generals and other classes whenever and however possible, staying for the summer, taking full class loads, and a lot of work.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
So now I’ve been out in the real world for a year.
So here’s a little note to my dear friends who are graduating today, or next week, or next month.
The learning hasn’t stopped.
There were quite a few things that college didn’t prepare me for. The routine of an every day job, the aspects of my job that I’ve spent many late nights researching and getting better at, purchasing a car, applying for another credit card, going over my taxes with my accountant, preparing to open an LLC, researching graduate schools (that’s still in process, I haven’t settled on anything yet), coming home after a ten hour work day to an absolute mess of a house and knowing that I have to wake up and do it all again in just a few hours, no changing of the schedule after just a few months, no summers of sleeping in until 11:00 or taking off Friday at 2:00 for an early weekend, the long hours of meetings when I have SO much work to do at my desk, making small talk with the CEO in the elevator as we watch the numbers go by, adjusting to added job responsibilities, taking on more work as people leave the company, being in on job interviews for a new person who I’ll spend most of my day with, finding the balance of when to stop bringing work home, learning to say no to another freelance opportunity because I’m already too busy, deciding if I NEED that or WANT it, going over stock and retirement options, immersing myself in an unfamiliar industry and really learning every aspect of it, learning the proper way to tell a vendor that they are absolutely out of line, teaching new employee orientation once a month, negotiating salaries, popping back into KSL to do some on-call work when I haven’t been in there in months – and having to do it correctly right then, deadlines of a product that doesn’t just mean a grade but means losing lots of money for the company if it doesn’t work right, switching managers and having to readjust to someone else’s management style…I could go on even longer.
The point is this: graduation is a huge step, but it’s not a last step. It’s a first step. A first step into the rest of your life. The life where you can’t stay up until 2:00 AM every night because you can’t skip work like you could class. The life where your group projects aren’t just a three week thing. The life where cramming for a presentation the night before doesn’t really cut it. The life of 9-5 work instead of shifts whenever they need you,
It’s so rewarding and wonderful. And I’m SO lucky that I’ve been able to spend the last year at a company that I love, doing a job that challenges me every single day. A job where the people are so wonderful, and make me enjoy coming to work (most days).
So my friends that are graduating, congratulations! This is a major day in your life, and I hope you remember it forever. I hope you always want to keep learning, and are so excited for the road ahead. The door is open and the possibilities are right in front of you!