New club helps students transition from college to the real world

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    True Life: I’m Graduating is a new, student run organization that was created to help bridge the gap between graduation and the jump into the real world, especially when it comes to financial aspects.

    Three students made it their senior impact project to create an organization to help guide students in the right direction after graduation.

    Mary Laurel Horan, Carson Pope and Julie Brandenburg are three students in the Next Generation Leadership Program and are the leaders behind this organization.

    “Our team grouped together because we saw that there was a need for seniors to learn life skills that are needed after graduation,” said Mary Laurel Horan, senior marketing major.

    Horan, Pope and Brandenburg teamed up with Chuck Dunning, director of the senior year experience in the office of student development services with TCU. The three students volunteered with Dunning in the fall of 2014 with his event called Senior (Dis)Orientation, a program that tackled topics that were similar to what the students were creating for their leadership project.

    “Once we had gone through Senior (Dis)Orientation and they had experienced what that was like, we started talking about their next project, True Life,” Dunning said. “We started with discussing what the content would be, how to present it and what kind of marketing we would need to do to get students to show up.”

    The leaders of the organization say it will focus almost solely on finance and the many branches that stem from that.

    The organization’s first information session Tuesday focused on budgeting a salary, learning about insurance and planning retirement. The two speakers were Mauricio Rodriguez, finance department chair, and Philips W. Hearn, divisional vice president of AXA Advisors.

    Rodriquez discussed budgeting and Hearn discussed insurance and retirement planning.

    Rodriguez spoke about the idea of living within your means and budgeting correctly. He discussed all the areas in which budgeting should be considered: home, health, food, entertainment and many more.

    With every area he provided real life scenarios that students could relate to.

    “I felt like learning about budgeting and the reality of what that really is was one of the most important topics I took away from tonight,” said Elle Ryan, senior speech-language pathology major. “I feel like budgeting has always been apart of a vague thing I’m supposed to do, and I have more of an idea on how to get started.”

    Hearn discussed information about insurance and retirement planning and gave his three tips about how to succeed beyond one’s peers.

    “If you do these top three things I promise you’ll be so far ahead of your peers: don’t keep a balance on a credit card, start small and don’t gut your retirement plan, and when you buy your first home do a 15 year mortgage, not a 30 year,” Hearn said.

    Hearn said his number one advice for students graduating is to start doing something for retirement right now. He said that even though it feels far away, it is not.

    The next meeting will be on March 24 and will discuss establishing credit and filing taxes. The leaders are hoping to gain feedback from the students through a questionnaire they handed out at the meeting.

    “Having a basic understanding of what is to come in the future is definitely something this program presented to us and presented it well,” said Delancy Vaccaro, senior marketing major.

    Horan, Pope and Brandenburg said they hope this organization will help to get students to start thinking about their plans after graduation.

    “We know that this idea of being on our own is on every seniors mind,” Pope said. “We just want to provide the tools and professionals that can give people some incite on what it is that they’re missing.”