What is this so-called real world?

Last weekend, I got to go back home to North Carolina and to spend time with my family for Mother’s Day and to surprise a few of my friends who were graduating that weekend.

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Hanging out with my college roomie at UNC’s graduation this year!

Well, to my surprise, the graduation speech at UNC this year, really hit home, even though, I’ve been a graduate for a year now.

Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg was the 2012 spring commencement speaker and needless to say he was a lot better than my speaker — which I don’t even remember who it was or what he said.

Anywho, attending the graduation was a combination of things. It was the chance to reunite with a few graduates like my roomie, Lisle; to be back at Carolina, a place that you don’t realize you’ll miss until you have to leave; and to witness the class of 2012 take that big step from undergraduate to graduate and become members of the real world. Truly an honor.

But what is the real world?

I’ve been in this real world for one year and I still don’t really know what it is myself. I just I’m living, I’m working and I’m trying to figure every step, one day at a time. Have there been good times? Yes. Bad times? Of course. Moments you wish you could redo? A few.

But I think one of the main reasons why I liked Mayor Bloomberg’s speech last weekend was because he made it a message for everyone. It was a speech that had words of wisdom and advice to the graduates, it had life lessons for people like me, and he added some humor and wittiness that everyone could enjoy.

“And you don’t need to be an expert in something to try it. So what, then, do you need? I’m going to tell you, but really, all I’m going to do is remind you of a few things you’ve already learned here – just by watching Carolina basketball.” – Mayor Bloomberg

Now anybody who can tie Carolina basketball into life lessons is obviously a winner in my book. But the points the Bloomberg made were good ones.

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He talked about working as a team and thinking about helping others (or as we like to call it in basketball, “making assists”). The mayor also reminded the crowd that it was ok to take risks, he actually encouraged it. And for me that was good to hear. Because you think taking risks will be a bad thing when in actuality it could be the best thing you could do.

But it was the latter part of his commencement address that really hit home for me. Bloomberg talked about how you have to hustle and as a journalist, I feel like I’ve been hustling since the day I decided to be a journalism major. I always told people I didn’t have a major, I had a hustle. And I still think that to some degree now.

But he mentioned something that is very true and I’m starting to learn more and more each day…we never really stop learning after we graduate. I’ve learned so much about the business, about how to be a better journalist and how the journalism world works once you’ve left that bubble of student and internship.

He ended with a great point and it was to remember to love what you do. And no matter what I’ve seen or done these past year, I’ve been reminded that I love what I do and I know that it won’t be easy at times. But if it’s easy, I don’t want it. Nothing in life worth having comes easy — it does take time, it does take effort and it does take passion.

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Then Mayor Bloomberg gave us a review lesson to remember!

“Teamwork is everything. Assist others. Risks are necessary. Hmmmm, the first three letters of those words are T-A-R – I wonder where this is going. Hustle, always. Elbows occasionally have to be used. Education is a lifelong journey. Love what you do. And if you put that list together, it of course spells Tar – Heel.”

So what is the real world? Well, I guess it’s what you make of it. It’s how you decide to use your talents to impact the world and how you want others to see you. That’s what it is.

One year out as a graduate and I’ve already accomplished a lot so I can’t wait to see where this journey of assists, risks, a few elbows, teamwork, love and education takes me.

Until next time,

KG

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Two of my graduates that I wanted to surprise on their special day! Congrats UNC class of 2012!

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