365 Days Later

Posted on May 19, 2009. Filed under: Everyday Me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

It was one year ago that I walked across the stage, shook my Dean’s hand and took that empty folder that said “Congratulations”. What have I learned in this one year since leaving my quiet off-campus house on the banks of the old Raritan? I would say that I have learned and grown more in this one year than possibly in all 4 years of school combined. I don’t expect to learn this much between this year and next, so I would argue that the one year directly following graduation I learned the most life lessons than at any other point in time.

Within that year I had to take someone to court and represent myself. I’m not a law student and I don’t plan to go to law school. This was by far bigger and more important than any research paper I ever turned in in College. I was living in a different state than my home state and had only a few months to determine all the laws regarding my situation, find their statutes in law reference guides, visit government offices to get multiple signatures and certificates to support my case, and then prove it all before a judge. There were tears and sleepless nights along the way but I would have traded all of that work for a 20 page research paper I turned in senior year. This was the most important win of my research career up until that point.

I also found myself a job. I had to land an interview, and make it happen. I was in a new town with new friends and I made it work. It was great! Once I landed the job I had to be a responsible adult and find decent housing that I could afford. I also had to navigate commuting to and from a city I was unfamiliar with and find ways to have fun in my new zone. It was a lot but the beginning was great!

Now that I’ve lived here for just about a year I’ve grown up in my decorating taste. Forget my posters and beer mugs – I’ve moved on to real photos of my friends and I sober as well as pictures of my family. Also I’m learning that less is more. We spend college gathering stuff. Nothing of real importance just stuff, and I think the year after college is spent cleaning it out. I have multiple ice-cube trays yet my freezer has an ice-cube maker now…I have a shaved-ice machine, as well as an iced-tea brewer. This is stuff that newlywed couples and 1o year olds request how did I ever end up with it?! It’s amazing the things you accumulate. Of course there are some things that are dear to our hearts but overall college is a time of collecting memories and souvenirs. They’re fond memories and times I will never forget. Given the chance to go back and start again I would but only if I could turn my age back and the time back to then as well…to go back now as I am now just wouldn’t be as much fun. There are bigger and great fish for me to fry now, and it’s time for us all to concede to growing up and having new fun and new memories with great friends.

I want to salute the graduates who will be walking across the stage today – you’ve come a long way and have done a lot. Don’t get grease-trucks food on your gowns: mom would be upset at that! Prepare yourself for a market not ready for so many employees and an economy that wants to pick itself back up but just isn’t sure if now is the time. This is a great setting for entrepreneurs and innovation. Believe it or not, we all received a great education – take the lessons you reluctantly learned and make them work for you. More importantly, keep your mind open to the new lessons that are headed your way, whether you want these lessons or not they’re coming! Post-graduate life is great, your first semester not in school is scary but you adjust and you move on, you’re ready for the world and you can accomplish your dreams!

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