It was an honor to shoot this bright young man’s graduation photos. I know he has a great future ahead of him. Here’s his reflection on his time at the University of Florida.
“When I arrived at UF for my freshman year in the fall of 2012, I enrolled as an accounting major, not entirely sure what I wanted to do yet. I did not know what to expect because neither of my parents went to UF, and it was a completely new environment for me. Additionally, I was unsure how I would like going to a school that was only two hours from my home. Very quickly I realized how much this university had to offer. I joined Theta Chi Fraternity and got involved on campus with Gator Growl and Student Government Productions. My sophomore year, I found out about the Master of Science in Finance Combined Degree program UF offered, and I applied. I realized finance was something I was passionate about and knew this program was the best way to challenge myself. I was accepted in the spring of my sophomore year. I did not know at the time know how much this program would change me. The following fall I began taking my masters classes on top of my undergraduate classes. Very quickly I learned to adjust, knowing school was the most important thing at this time, as well as my personal preparation for investment banking interviews. In December I was invited to NYC for a final round interview (after many phone interviews) with Jefferies LLC for a chance to land one of their summer analyst positions in their investment-banking group. The interview was tough but I left feeling confident, and was fortunate enough to receive an offer. That summer at Jefferies made me quickly realize how college is not “real life,” and how amazing and special it really is. It made me appreciate my family, my friends and my free time. But don’t get me wrong, I loved my summer there as I felt it not only ignited my passion for finance, but when you work 80-100 hour weeks, you quickly get a new perspective for how some things in life are truly not appreciated. As the summer closed out, I found out I had received an offer to return to Jefferies LLC in NYC for full-time and immediately accepted it. Not having to look for a job senior year was truly a weight off my shoulders; all my hard work had finally paid off. Senior year was much more relaxing, leaving me time to check things off my UF or Gainesville bucket list, as well as study for level I of the CFA exam which UF gave me a scholarship to take. Fall game days really were special in my last year, as I knew these were and will be some of the best times of my life. In December I finished out my undergraduate degree and passed level I of the CFA exam. Spring of senior year was something different. It was full of mixed emotions as now I was a full-time grad student, but knew everything was winding down. It was almost as there was always a countdown clock going in the back of my mind. Emotions were both happy and sad. I did things I’d never done before, like make spontaneous road trips with my best friends, as well as force myself to leave my comfort-zone and try new things. May 1st, 2016 I officially graduated with my masters, and so came to a close my time at UF. Never in my dreams did I think I’d fall in love with a town, a campus, a stadium, a school, a profession, or the Gator nation. I simply can’t comprehend all that UF has lent me in terms of personal growth, maturity, triumphs and downfalls, and friends. I leave this university knowing that it has forever changed me, and I have forever changed it (as small as that may be). The University of Florida will always hold a special place in my heart, and the friends I made here will always be a part of my life. Once a Gator, always a Gator.”
-Brian C. Lanoue