University of New Mexico student Alfred Rascon will be graduating with a bachelor’s in history, making him the first in his family to graduate.

Rascon was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico and moved to Albuquerque when he was 7-years-old and chose a degree in history because of his love of the subject, he said.

“It is very interesting gaining historical perspective on anything from U.S. involvement in the Middle East, to how my wife’s family and many like them came to to New Mexico,” Rascon said. “I also feel like it’s useful in every profession.”

Rascon said he has not decided on what career field he plans on going into after graduation, but said he would try substitute teaching for a while to figure out if he is interested in teaching.

Additionally, Rascon said he is very interested in going into politics.

“I’m not really sure what I want to do after graduation,” Rascon said. “I have many things in mind, but I haven’t really decided yet. I guess the only goals I have are to do something that makes me happy, and to contribute to society in some meaningful and potentially memorable way.”Rascon describes his overall experience at UNM as having been positive and said he feels that he learned as much outside of class as he did in class. One impactful event that Rascon said he experienced was during his spring semester of his freshman year.

“I was taking a public speaking class with Ailesha Ringer. The final speech I gave was about happiness,” Rascon said. “I had experienced pretty severe depression for the first time in my life earlier in the semester, and I wanted to share that experience with the class and talk about how I was able to overcome it. I became a little emotional during the speech as did some of my classmates. My classmates and teacher were so supportive — it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”Rascon would not have been able to get through college without the emotional and financial support of his friends and family, he said.

“They were there for me, whether I needed some money for gas during a tough holiday season, or if I just needed to get a drink and unwind from a hard week,” Rascon said.Now that he is edging nearer to his graduation date, Rascon said he admits that college was tough.“I mean, there’s a whole category of memes that are about the stress that comes from college,” Rascon said. “I pulled all-nighters frequently, ate junk, drank way too much coffee and managed personal relationships poorly. But, I also made great memories, I learned a lot and met some really cool people.”

Rascon said he is grateful for his experience as a college student and overall is happy to be done.

“I’ve been in school since the age of 3 when my parents decided to put me in head start a year early,” Rascon said. “I’ve been a student for 20 years. I’m excited to experience life outside of being a student.” Rascon said his final semester was not so bad as he only has two finals and a short paper due.

“Some semesters I would have five papers due, or five finals to take,” Rascon said.

Rascon said he thinks that with each subsequent semester, students get more cynical, but better at managing their time and assignments. He said whenever he was stressed about a deadline he would tell himself that by the day that the assignment is due, it will either be done or it would not and advises current students to adopt the same train of thought.

“Either way I won’t have to worry about it anymore, it might not seem helpful, but it did a lot to remove the stress and helped me finish the assignment,” Rascon said. Time flies and Rascon said that he still remembers being an undergrad very clearly.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long,” Rascon said. “Take time to enjoy yourself, even if it means putting certain things off until later. You’re only young once.”

Nichole Harwood is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She writes for both culture and news. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @Nolidoli1.