With graduation season upon us, and the realization that my 10 year high school reunion is coming up, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Graduation is a monumental milestone in life, whether it’s high school, college, university, or graduate school. And so, I wanted to share how my life has changed (for the better, generally) since I graduated with my International Baccalaureate high school diploma.
Now, anyone that knows me, knows I love being in school. I love fresh notebooks, pens, pencils, and colored pens. I love learning, the social aspect, and the clubs and leadership opportunities related to it. So, it may not come as a surprise to my readers that….
- Since 2009 I have earned my Bachelor’s in Psychology…
- ….and my Master’s in Behavior Analysis.
- And I just completed the process of applying to a PhD program!
- I participated in Student Government (as a Senator and Finance chair), joined a professional fraternity and social sorority, donated my hair to cancer patients TWICE, participated in six Relay for Life events, and stayed up all night for two Dance Marathons.
Because let’s be real… once of the best parts of graduation and being an adult is getting to make money – right? So how has my professional life changed since I graduated?
- Since 2009, I’ve been published in a medical journal thanks to my time interning with a pediatric surgeon in Miami…
- I’ve crossed state lines to travel to my first professional conference.
- I did a poster presentation at another professional conference about a side project I was involved in at work at the time.
- Went to Japan for a third conference.
- And I set up my first behavior consulting business.
But wait a minute, there is so much more to life than work and school! No matter how much I love school… I also love everything that these past 9 years have given me in terms of my personal development.
- I met my best friend in my second year of college, and we’ve been best friends ever since.
- After grad school I moved away from the Miami suburbs – to Los Angeles!
- My migraines got worse, then got better, then got worse.
- A certain someone popped the question and now we’re engaged!
- We’ve started a gorgeous, slow life in the mountains, near a big lake and surrounded by oak trees and wildlife with our two cats and puppy. And when I say wildlife, I don’t just mean squirrels and bugs… think bears, raccoons, wolves, and even a friendly skunk!
- I’ve adopted my first two pets, both of which truly saved me.
- My brother got married!
Life has brought me so many beautiful moments and learning experiences since I graduated the quote-unquote “best years of my life”. How do you think your life has changed (or will change) since you were 18?
And in case you didn’t get to grab it earlier… click below to grab your College Bucket List checklist!
Author: Stephanie Ortega
Stephanie is a behavior analyst and tutor with over a decade of experience in helping children. She creates planners and worksheets for the organizer within us all, maintains a blog, and runs two start-ups. She’s also a doodler and puppy and cat mom who enjoys travel and learning new things.