A lot of lasts today. Last full day of work. Last lunch with co-workers. They even bought me a strawberry cake and a gift (though I still don't know what it is - it's supposed to arrive at the firm tomorrow), and made me a card. Not a lot of people can say that they look forward to waking up every morning and going to work, but I am not one of those people. Every single day, even if I was hung over, still exhausted from a night of partying, I'd wake up and literally jump out of my bed in an anticipation of work.
The pay did not exactly allow me to roll around in hundred dollar bills, but there was always plenty of overtime and I did not mind staying late. In fact, every time I was needed to stay and work at night, I was happy to do it. You know why? Because I actually enjoyed my job.
Of course, I have my reasons for continuing my education and going to graduate school. I want to both grow professionally, and be able to take on more challenging tasks. I will be able to move onto managerial positions more quickly. And yes, with a Master's degree I will be able to afford a more luxurious style of living.
However, as sappy and cliche as it sounds, the lessons that I have learned at my very first architectural firm that took a chance on me - a college graduate with practically no related experience, will live on with me forever. Before interviewing with the firm I ended up working for for 1.5 years, I had a lot of other job interviews at other places, but I truly believe that this firm was the best choice for me.
In my card, one of my co-workers wrote to me (the note was written upside down): "We hope to see your work one day in Architectural Record, perhaps even on the cover. Life sometimes seems to turn everything upside down, so I send you this note as an early effort to get you used to the effect. I am sure you will succeed no matter what."
God, it's always so hard to leave good things behind.