It is hard to believe that graduation was just over a month ago and I am now the holder of two degrees, my masters and my bachelors. It seems like just yesterday I started as a freshman at RIT and was living in the dorms. It is amazing to think back on all that I accomplished and experienced. My friends told me in high school that they believed I was destined for college, college was going to be my best experience to date and they were right. College was so much better than high school for me at least but for others it is a different story and that is okay because everyone’s path is different. College for some people is an extension of high school, they don’t learn anything new in the sense of life experiences, they may pick up a few new math equations or understand new subjects but they don’t experience what college has to offer in the sense of growing up. For me college was a time of coming into my own, figuring out who I was a person and who I wanted to be in the future. Now I am not saying I have all the answers but who really does. During this month off, I have spent time reading by the pool and really relaxing. Reading nothing of great importance in my life but just reading because I enjoy it. My latest book that I finished in three sunny days by the pool was, I Just Graduated…Now What?” by Katherine Schwarzenegger and if you are like me a recently graduated student, I highly recommend reading it this summer. I do not know if I would have picked it up had I not won it from Barnes and Noble in their end of term twitter contest but I am very glad I tweeted my piece of advice for college students because it allowed me the chance to realize I am not alone in how I am feeling post-graduation. My copy is signed by the author; however, she may never know who I am. If by some chance she does happen to read this post I want her to know that we have a lot in common in the sense that we both strive to do good in the world, leave our own mark and break out of the shadows (her shadows may be more public than mine but none the less what I saw from reading her book is that a name does not get you everything – you have to work just as hard if not harder to prove your worth). Katherine, if you are reading this, I hope that one day I have the chance to meet with you, maybe collaborate on a project together or just pick your brain on different things. As was stated in your book, you are young but can still have a voice. You may not have all the answers but who really does? Growing up is about finding your path because every piece of the puzzle makes for the journey. Hopefully one day our journeys will cross because your book was truly inspiring. Sorry to my readers for my slight tangent, I Just Graduated…Now What?, is a compilation of interviews of famous people who have been down the road before the graduates of today. Katherine interviews: athletes, actors, comedians, DJs, politicians, talk show hosts, entrepreneurs, rising chefs and many other public figures whom you may or may not know, who struggled with the What Now question. Katherine tells her story of her recent graduation in the Spring of 2012 from USC along with many others in a youthful way that will keep you turning each page because it is extremely relatable. Whether you read it to make yourself feel better about where you are at, to see that you are not alone or to be inspired to follow your dreams, this is a must read during the summer after you graduate! Going to college at Rochester Institute of Technology may not have been my dream school growing up; however, after a few weeks on campus, I knew it was meant to be. It is hard to believe I almost crossed it off my list thanks to a terrible recruiting visit there during October of my Senior Year of High School. Life is funny sometimes, at RIT the campus looks flat and boring at first sight, the bricks all look the same and there appears to be no character. But when you take a closer look and join the RIT community, you realize like each student attending, the bricks are all unique. The unique blend of cultures, majors, colleges, ethnicities, programs, clubs and teams at RIT – offers students a one of kind experience. RIT is no longer just for the techies but I will say if you do not believe at least a little part of you is a nerd, RIT is not the school for you. Looking at RIT from a distance people may say, how did you go there for four years? Why stay? Because RIT was my home, RIT was where I was supposed to be and RIT is a huge part of who I am today. I believe that you define your own college experience, you choose your own level of involvement and you decide if you will be the type of student that embraces the opportunities given to them or sits in the back of the room and does not give anyone a chance to get to know them. I was not the later of the two options if you can not tell. I took every opportunity I could to become someone who was recognizable and not just because of athletics. I made sure my professors knew me as the student so that when it was time to come looking for career advice, they were willing to help me. I was very fortunate to have some great professors in both my undergraduate programs and masters programs. I would not have traded the experience for the world. People have asked me, “If you could go back, knowing what you know now would you choose a different school?” Without hesitation my answer is “no shot”! The next question that tends to follow is, “Would you have gone back for your MBA right away if you could do it again?” My answer may be more calculated but it is along the same lines, “Yes, I would because I had many loose ends left to tie up. As an NCAA athlete you are given four seasons for your sport, just four. Having only used three of them, I had my class, my seniors, my senior year, and my team to return too, they weren’t finished with me and I wasn’t finished with them. I also had a lot of goals that were not accomplished yet and when I set goals, I plan to achieve them unless it is not physically possible. There are not a lot of people in the world who get to say they were a student-athlete let alone a four year student-athlete. It takes commitment, sacrifice, desire and passion to play all four years because it is stressful but it can be done and I am proud to say I am a part of the four year student-athlete club. I am the type of person who completes what I set out to accomplish and I had committed to four years of basketball at the division three level and I was not willing to walk away just yet from that promise simply because I was faster at school than the average student. I believe that the commitment and loyalty shown in college is just as important to perspective employers as past work experience. The lessons and work ethic learned on a team in college are life lessons I will carry through with me to the real world. Plus, had I not gone back to RIT I wouldn’t have been able to redefine and grow the Tiger Den program and make all of the connections I did this year. But if I was asked had I not completed my undergraduate career in three years and done it in the traditional four, I can’t answer that question because I was not in that situation.” A masters was always in my future it was just the timing and for me, four years and two degrees later, I could not be happier. Remember that everything you do, each step you take whether you feel like it is a step towards something or not, is a step on your path. My biggest advice is try to live your life with no regrets. If you think it is something you could regret by not doing, just do it. I knew that if I did not take my selfie crossing the stage during graduation then I would regret it. What harm could come from me doing it? Well, the picture may not have come out perfect but seeing the look on the Mr. Saunders face, yes, E. Philip Saunders, the namesake of my college, was a look I will never forget. He was cracking up and smiling and I hope will now remember me. It may be something as little as that but those little things will add up to a lifetime of memories.