My Advice For 2022 Grads

Franci Neely
3 min readJun 13, 2022


Graduation is such an exciting time and I absolutely loved my time studying at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. But when it comes to having a well-rounded education, nothing beats packing your bags and setting out on an adventure to a place you’ve never been before.

I’m a huge fan of travel. Having been to so many places, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Cuba, Spain, Istanbul, London, and so many other exotic destinations, there’s something one gets from traveling that simply can’t be learned in books. There’s nothing like stepping off a plane into a new land with a camera in hand and a fresh itinerary of places to explore. It’s about experiencing a new city in person and connecting with others around the world, totally immersing yourself in their culture and taking in the sites, cuisine, scents, and sounds of a totally different place. One of my favorite things to do while traveling is shop for local fashions and goods. Traveling around the world is also so important because it gives you different perspectives on other cultures and how they live.

Like many people, COVID delayed my travel plans, but over the next two years, I hope to complete my goal of visiting every country in the world. There are about 10 countries in Africa I still need to see, and several remote island countries in the South Pacific left for me to visit.

Having traveled so extensively, I have experienced firsthand the power that making new connections holds. And that’s something you can start in your own backyard. Get involved in your community — and when it’s time to vote, make sure you get out and do so. Every vote counts and it’s never been more crucial to get out and be part of that process.

I recommend getting involved in one’s local community by volunteering. There are some amazing opportunities out there to give back. I have had the privilege of being a board member of multiple organizations such as the Baker Institute of Public Policy and as the founding chair of the Houston Cinema Arts Society. There is no greater feeling than giving back and seeing the difference that support makes. So many organizations need our help. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Winston Churchill. He said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” This couldn’t be more true. I think it’s important to get involved with organizations and causes you feel passionate about. There are an infinite number of ways to give back, so choose wisely and always give it your best. Never forget the reason why you wanted to partner with that organization and do all things with intention.

I also suggest learning a new language. There is nothing more meaningful than having an authentic conversation, especially while traveling. I studied Italian and French and hope to live in Italy at some point so I can really communicate in Italian. I think the best way to learn something is to just do it.

My other advice to new graduates is to acknowledge that time is precious and there’s no guarantee of tomorrow. Have a well-curated to-do list every day. Avoid procrastination. Think before you act. Establish goals and reach them. Then set new goals as you grow and conquer those. Just be mindful that time is the most valuable asset.