Julieann Lopez looks back on her positive experiences at the University of New Mexico as she approaches graduation day.

This week, she will be earning her Bachelor of Science in exercise science with a minor in psychology.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself and my interests for the future. I’ve made many lifelong friends while at UNM, and I’m very thankful for my opportunity to come to school here,” Lopez said.

Of her experiences, Lopez’ internship seems to stand out the most for her.

“I was working at a physical therapy clinic for the duration of the semester,” she said. “While doing the internship, I met so many new people and professional colleagues in the PT field. It’s made me even more excited to continue my education.”

After graduation, Lopez plans on continuing her education by applying to physical therapy school at UNM, along with a few other schools around the country, she said.

“My experience from exercise science has prepared me well to continue in school and do well in physical therapy school,” Lopez said.

Her friends and family have been supportive of her throughout her entire college career, she said.

“They are all just as excited as I am for me to finally be done,” Lopez said. “My parents, (Tom and Barbara), and my sister, (Tamara), have been the greatest support team I could have ever asked for. They believed in me even when I had doubts, and they always encouraged me to keep going. I love you guys.”

Lopez is excited to graduate but even with all the excitement, she is nervous and a little scared to see what the future will bring, she said.

“School has been a part of my life for so long. It’s very strange to think this chapter of my life is coming to an end,” Lopez said.

And as that chapter ends, she said she understands that for many other students, the chapter is just beginning.

For incoming students, she suggests finding a person in each class to work with. “It’s so helpful if you have a friend to work on homework with and ask questions when you’re stuck on something,” Lopez said.

She is also quick to remind students of the dangers of procrastination, as it only makes college harder in the end, she said.

“Also remember to have fun,” Lopez said. “College will be over before you know it.”

Nichole Harwood is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers alumni and art features. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Nolidoli1.