The Class of 2020... Virtual Graduation

For those of you bouncing around the TKP community who are graduating this month., congratulations. And also... sorry it had to be this way. Just tell your parents to hand over that $500 they were going to drop on lunch/dinner for 10.

Hold your head up high and let us know who you are, so that we can personally (and virtually) pat you on the back, and offer advice that you probably won't heed until you're staring down the barrel at 40 or so.

Also, if you have a loved one who is graduating, use this space to brag and give a shout out.

UNLEASH THE LOUD APPLAUSE GIFs!!!

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

Congrats to 2020 grads!!!

Sucks about graduation. That was the only time I got to walk the tunnel at Lane, so that that was definitely memorable.

Bonus, you won't get any grief for popping that Champagne bottle open in the middle of the ceremony.

Congrats all!

What a weird few months for me.

Finished classes in December and decided to skip the winter commencement for a couple reasons -- wanted to walk with all of my friends in the spring and wanted to be with my brother as he went through surgery in Wisconsin on the day of winter commencement. Figured it would be no big deal considering graduation, you know, never gets cancelled.

Fast forward to now, and I'm in a weird place. Don't feel like participating in the virtual ceremonies because I won't be with friends, but also don't want my accomplishment to just be forgotten. I'm trying to distract myself with my job and preparing for grad school in the fall.

To all other Class of 2020 folks on here, congrats! We're the class that can reminisce on the COVID-19 outbreak 40 years down the road and tell others "yeah, well we were the age group that had graduation cancelled." I guess that's one positive way to look at it.

Congratulations, Henry. You need to hold Dr. Sands to his word on that tunnel walk this fall.

Leonard. Duh.

It's an unwritten law that it's my lunch pail. I've issued the challenge. If someone outworks me, they can get it.
Darryl Tapp

My graduation yesterday. Filled with virtual school for my kids.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Congratulations, dude.

Leonard. Duh.

I saw the photo and thought, "that's gotta be around here".

Then I saw who posted it, lol.

Most importantly, congrats!!!

I had no idea your name was Grad Robb.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Congrats!

in Fuller we trust

Wife graduated with her DNP in the fall, but her school was not going to hold a ceremony in the winter, so she expected to do it in the spring. Definitely has been an interesting start to her career as a provider.

Congrats on the great accomplishment!!

"2020", often said out loud as twenty-twenty (rather than two thousand twenty) has suggested clear, sharp vision. The events of the last few months may seem the opposite for you who are graduating, but one of the benefits of age is the perspective that things are seldom as awful as they might seem at the moment. By graduating you have made a significant accomplishment. Much like a marathon, only the elite can be considered contenders for the laurel leaf crown. Most runners strive to do their best and just finish. Once the runner has crossed the finish line, they have "won" an accomplishment no one can every take away from them. They have done something that many cannot.

You can be proud of yourself. You graduated from Virginia Tech.

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

Serious question: You've all probably seen people posting their senior pics on facebook and such in support of 2020 grads. Am I the only one who thinks that was kinda dickish? To me, it came off as let's support the grads by showing them memories they'll never make. Not trying to stir anything up. I'm genuinely curious how others saw it.

Edit: 'Preciate the feedback. /s

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

I am firmly in the camp that this is part of socially engineering information for security questions. A popular one is, "what was your high school mascot?" or something along those lines. Same as the 'Post all the cars you have had', and those 20 question surveys people pass around.

I'm pitching my tent here also.

Leonard. Duh.

pitching my tent

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Damn, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought of that

Congratulations to everyone and good luck. I know the job market is terrible right now, but it was great a few months ago and can change back fast. Keep your head up. It will work out well.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

A little advice...

Take care of your first job. Pay your dues and cheerfully carry the water bucket. Everybody starts at the bottoms rung.

If you don't know, ask. For real.

Start saving for your kids college immediately. Like as soon as the stick shows positive.

Don't get a credit card until you're confident you can pay it off every 30 days. The minimum payment will become your own personal vampire.

Own a home, but wait until you can put money down and take a 15 year mortgage. Cool story... a friend of mine bought a duplex. He lived in one side and rented the other. The rent paid his mortgage. Paid it off in 10 and bought another one. He's now a kingpin landlord in Columbia, SC.

Don't be more than 10 minutes early to your interview. And DO NOT BE LATE. Wear a jacket and a tie. It still works.

When you get the job, listen to gossip, but do not participate, or spread it.

Treat those at your workplace that have nothing to offer you like they do. Because one day they will, and plus it's polite.

Don't buy a new car, but buy certified used with some warranty left.

Exercise, eat right, and get plenty of sleep. You're going to need that immune system. Amiirite?

Leonard. Duh.

plastics

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Ahhh... someone else has watched THE. GREATEST. MOVIE. EVER. MADE.

Leonard. Duh.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Or he played a lot of Civ IV and heard Leonard Nemoy's voiceover when he researched it.

Civ IV ... YES!!!!!!

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

All great stuff. A few reactions:

Don't get a credit card until you're confident you can pay it off every 30 days. The minimum payment will become your own personal vampire.

Actually get and use a credit card but don't get into debt. I think you're saying the same thing. Build your credit with small purchases. Credit cards are much more secure than debit cards in cases of fraud. Not sure if this is still the case but it used to be that debit cards don't have the same protections built in as credit cards which do not hold you liable for fraudulent purchases.

Own a home, but wait until you can put money down and take a 15 year mortgage.

Yup, and buy something cheap. Don't overbuy on your first house. They're called starter homes for a reason. Buy the size of home that you need now, not the one you think you'll need in 10 years. Improve the property you buy. If you buy a bigger home, you'll have more to improve and you'll never get to it.

Max out your 401k. Not just max out the company match, max out the limit you can contribute. You're young and while it is tempting to hold onto the cash you'll earn in your first job, try to live a little frugally to get that account built up. The money you put in there now is the money that will pay you back the most when you retire.

Agree, except that credit cards are not much more secure than debit cards. Today, they have the same exact fraud protections built in. In the event of debit card fraud, you've just got to report it within a certain period of time, they're legally obligated to put the money back.

My advice would be run away from credit cards like the plague. I just don't think getting, say, 1% back on purchases that you weren't going to make anyway had you not had a credit card, is a good reason to have one. Especially since they're no more secure. That's just me though.

Sometimes debit cards have TOO MUCH protection. I had one bank lock my debit card because they noticed some overseas purchases. Now, that would have been excellent customer service on their part had I not been stationed in Germany and been there for well over a year using my debit card FROM THEM the entire time.

Another bank was a little crazy about locking my card when I would visit adjacent states. It would be a lot easier to appreciate the abundance of caution they had if later on someone hadn't used the same card to make 30 purchases from the same store in Phoenix, AZ.

Now, you tell me what is more likely fraud, a few purchases from gas stations, restaurants, bars, and hotels from a weekend trip in an adjacent state or 30 purchases from the same store across the country?

It's the thought that counts, I guess.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

Could be that the protections are the same nowadays, I could be stuck in a preconceived notion.

Though building credit is very important, which I do think is unique to credit cards. So long as you can simultaneously maintain discipline about what you're buying and, as the previous poster indicated, pay it off every month, it's the way I'd go.

If I buy something and my credit card gets compromised then it is an immediate fix by the credit card company and I lose none of my actual money. Same scenario with a debit card and my money leaves my account and it can be a pain to get it back even if it is just a phone call. Credit cards have their place. I don't buy anything I am unable to pay off immediately.

Ex-wife found out the hard way that debit cards shouldn't be used at gas pumps. Victim of a skimming device attached to the pump. 30+ days to get money (~$900) back into checking account while "investigation" was in process.

Yep exactly that. I had $500+ taken out of my checking in college and was lucky enough to have a very fast acting bank to get it back to me. I would have been screwed entirely if it took a month considering I worked 30+ hours a week and if I didn't have my rent money I had no one else to go to for it. I've used a credit card for every possible transaction since then. Hell I don't even keep my debit card in my wallet.

One of my good friends works in the IT department and handles the fraud payment system. He always has horror stories about it. It's not uncommon for the bank to report it immedietly, but they have to wait to put the money in until the insurance company pays.

There were always people losing 1000's of dollars or getting hit with overdraft fees and being in the red and collecting penalties. Sometimes depending on the amount it could take MONTHS to get that payment. There were sob stories of people not being able to pay their mortgage, bills, cars, groceries. If it's small they might toss in that $100, it's its $1000s, no dice.

And this is a Credit Union. Imagine Bank of America.

My advice would be run away from credit cards like the plague. I just don't think getting, say, 1% back on purchases that you weren't going to make anyway had you not had a credit card, is a good reason to have one.

Meh, I've gotten three international vacations that I paid for purely off credit card points. It's easy to game the system.

Maybe my privileged is showing, but I don't understand why so many people buy things they don't need when they can't afford them... Set your budget and stick to it, regardless of if you're paying via credit card, debit card, or cash.

Twitter me

I didn't discover the cash back rewards on my credit card for the first four years I had it. I had gotten some kind of VT card, and thought that the rewards went back to Tech. One day I look at the rewards points for giggles, and found out that I had enough to get $200 in Amazon gift cards. That was in November or December. Suddenly, Christmas was paid for.

Eventually, I realized that Amazon was frequently one of the places that would earn extra bonus points during the fourth quarter, so it worked out better to just buy the stuff with the card and rack up the points, converting them into cash back that would pay off the December bill.

Basically, I use the rewards points to pay for Christmas each year.

I had enough to get $200 in Amazon gift cards. That was in November or December. Suddenly, Christmas was paid for

Prior to having kids. Now it's $200/kid, and wife is OCD, so if one kid gets 6 things, the others get 6 things.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

My card is one of those Travel Rewards Cards that lets you transfer points to airline miles. I've saved thousands at least using that feature.

My trip with a stopover in Guam to Japan was like $2000 or $2200. Cost me 70K, which would be $700 CB, or $1050 in travel credit.

My advice would be run away from credit cards like the plague. I just don't think getting, say, 1% back on purchases that you weren't going to make anyway had you not had a credit card, is a good reason to have one.

Sooner or later most everybody wants to buy a house/condo/townhouse/something. Having a credit card to get 1% back isn't the greatest reason to get one, but if you save up and buy everything (you can do this on everything up to cars) in cash, you will have zero credit history. Paying 6% on a mortgage vs 3% by building good credit makes a lot of sense and can cost you a LOT of money, both in interest payments, slower rate that you build equity (which hurts a lot if you sell a place before you 100% own it), etc.

One of the few ways for college kids to build credit is credit cards. If they give you a credit limit of $2000, you can also ask for it to be $1000 so you are less tempted/able to do damage to yourself. Loans would be another way, assuming they're in your name and not your parents.

No, I'm in the camp of get one as soon as possible. However, do your homework and don't be stupid. I never got one until the end of my senior year. Went to get a new car since mine crapped out and my rate was like 10%. Everyone else's was 1.5-3ish%. I was shocked and I asked why and they said when they ran my credit.... I had NO credit besides Student Dept (doesn't help) and bank accounts.

Called one my friends later who got a 2% rate and he's had credit cards since his parents guaranteed it in high school.

I called them up and talked to them about it since one works in finance and he said it's the dumbest thing in the world not to have a card as soon as you can. People say that because of weird phobias or because they or people they do don't have self control. Get one, lower the limit.

A 10% rate is a bad deal, no matter what the car is or how bad or good your credit is. I think you were given bad information, most of the time you can get the same rate on a car no matter your credit. Anyone saying that you've got to pay 10 percent on a car just because you don't have a history of credit is just trying to BS you out of your money.

I've always just said, save up the money, and buy a used car with cash 100% up front, no credit involved. Stay out of debt and invest your money wisely.

I have never bought a single thing with a credit card and have done just fine. If you look hard enough, its pretty clear that having a good credit score is not as important as people say it is. That's just what auto / real estate / etc. salesmen say to get you to go into debt to them for their products.

And no, I'm not saying this because I have some "weird phobia." I'd like to know why he says its the dumbest thing in the world not to have a card as soon as you can. That itself sounds pretty dumb to me.

Really good advice. Most personal finance books I've read advise 15% of gross pay towards retirement in the following order: 401k to max out company match, then Roth IRA to limit, then back to 401k to that limit, then to Traditional IRA. If you want to save more than 15% great, but most grads will probably be in step 3 when they hit the 15%.

Hear, hear on the 401k. My account doesn't look great now, but would have been annihilated in '08 and last month had I not listened to that advice when I was 24.

Leonard. Duh.

On the credit card front. While I agree in principle, you actually hurt your credit by not keeping a small balance. You should actually maintain a 10% of the max balance on the card. Credit scoring looks at your ability to pay on a balance owed. This will help TREMENDOUSLY when going to buy a car and house. If you don't have a good credit score (hard to do when you're young). The best way to improve your credit score is to carry that 10% balance and make payments towards it. But, to your point, pay off any balance greater than 10% each month.

My wife bought her car from her dad, worked and paid off everything in cash, theoretically all the "right" things, but had lousy credit because of it. She struggled to get a business loan to start a business. Meanwhile, me with a car loan and mortgage (all kinds of debt) had a better credit score than her. Having no credit (owing money and paying it off) is actually worse than kinda bad credit. You may not be able to get a loan, or if you do, the rates will be a LOT higher.

I've also heard save up and buy a car for cheap used. This has the same problem. I'd say save up some money, pay most of the car in cash, but still get a loan (as small as you can) and make the payments.

On the credit card front. While I agree in principle, you actually hurt your credit by not keeping a small balance. You should actually maintain a 10% of the max balance on the card. Credit scoring looks at your ability to pay on a balance owed. This will help TREMENDOUSLY when going to buy a car and house. If you don't have a good credit score (hard to do when you're young). The best way to improve your credit score is to carry that 10% balance and make payments towards it. But, to your point, pay off any balance greater than 10% each month.

This is advice that I've heard from my parents time and time again, and there's no legs to it based on the information from any credit reporting agency that I've ever been able to find.

Credit agencies DO account for your credit utilization -- using too much of your available credit tells a prospective lender that you likely have restricted cash flow and may not be able to pay, while using zero credit doesn't prove anything about your ability to repay a lender.

The key misconception is that your credit utilization is the balance you carry month-to-month. It's not. The balance that is usually reported by your lender to the credit agencies is typically the balance on your statement. There's just not much of a reason that I can think of to carry over 10% of your balance and pay interest on it the next month.

https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/amount-of-debt

Credit utilization ratio on revolving accounts
Your credit utilization ratio on revolving accounts-the percentage of your available credit you're using-is an important factor in your FICO Scores. Using a high percentage of your available credit means you're close to maxing out your credit cards, which can have a negative impact on your FICO Scores.

On the other hand, using a low percentage of your available credit can have a positive impact. In some cases, a low credit utilization ratio will have a more positive impact on your FICO Scores than not using any of your available credit at all.

It's also important to note that your current account balance isn't necessarily the balance that shows up on your credit report. Your account balance on your credit report will reflect the account balance your lender reported to the credit bureau (typically the balance from your latest monthly statement). So even if you pay your credit card balances in full each month, your account balance won't necessarily show on your credit report as $0.

so the TL;DR is that you don't necessarily hurt your credit by paying your balance off every month, but you definitely hurt your credit by never having a balance to be paid. it just doesn't make sense for the large majority of people to pay the credit card lender the interest rate on their balance for the chance of the possibility of keeping a few points on the credit score.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

On the credit card front. While I agree in principle, you actually hurt your credit by not keeping a small balance. You should actually maintain a 10% of the max balance on the card. Credit scoring looks at your ability to pay on a balance owed. This will help TREMENDOUSLY when going to buy a car and house. If you don't have a good credit score (hard to do when you're young). The best way to improve your credit score is to carry that 10% balance and make payments towards it. But, to your point, pay off any balance greater than 10% each month.

I was told this by someone at Fair Isaac - one of the credit scoring companies. I actually had a somewhat long conversation with the lady about what affects your credit score. That conversation happened a pretty long time ago. I just looked it up - they've changed their credit scoring models at LEAST twice since then (it was probably 20 years ago I was told that, so I'm pretty confident it used to be the case). On their website for starting building credit, Fair Isaac now says to get a credit card and pay off the balance each month. Link

So, sorry, that advice is outdated. Now -get a credit card and pay off the balance each month! If you get a rewards card, even better!

No worries -- I'm sure it used to be the case and it became so ingrained in the public consciousness that it's a difficult "pro tip" to stop repeating, especially because it seems counterintuitive. In theory, it makes sense for the lender to view things that way. In practice, it's them docking your credit score because you don't want to pay interest -- a pretty clear conflict of interest since it should be viewed as a good thing to repay your credit. I wouldn't be surprised if there was legislation/regulation that spurred those changes in scoring.

If you get a rewards card, even better!

If you don't have a credit card that offers 1-2% cash back on all purchases, and higher cash back on some other select items/"genres" of usage (e.g. gas, restaurant, grocery, travel, etc), you're doing it all wrong. Pretty much any credit card that's actually worth it is going to have juicy cash back (it adds up!) and zero-fees for international usage as well. The internet has made it so easy to shop around as a consumer for the best lending options.

edit: bonus protip for the long haul:

Payment History (35%), Amount Owed (30%), and Length of History (15%) together make up 80% of your credit score. The other two factors are credit mix (10% -- this is how "diversified" you are in mortgage vs credit card vs car payment vs student loans) and new credit/inquiries (10% this is basically a slack variable for lenders to look at how much unrealized risk they could be taking on)

simple way to help build credit for a teenager/college student is to have two cards. One card is only for your fixed recurring monthly expenses (maybe it's your netflix or spotify, maybe it's your comcast bill in foxridge, maybe it's both), no matter how small -- the key is that there's no surprises and no variability. This card can have a lower line of available credit. The other card is used for incidentals and month-to-month variable expenses (groceries and gas being the two obvious ones). Pay them both off every month.

You'll likely take a slight hit early on when you open two cards close to each other and likely only have student loan info on your report (the "other" 20%). But then you'll be accruing regular payments on two lines and have two "longest lines of credit" growing old at the same time. If you need to close one for whatever reason, the clock isn't starting over. You'll also have an overall lower debt-to-credit ratio. The 80% far outweighs the initial 20%, especially given that "new credit" is only counted for 12 months and only appears on the report for 2 years. Stick to the script and by the time you're out of college (or a year-plus into the workforce), your credit score will have risen significantly.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

And it is usually a bad idea to have a credit card that you have to pay an annual fee on. Most of the time whatever reward you get from the card is not worth the fee. There are lots of cards that give you bonuses/incentives that have no annual fee.

Yes, definitely the true vast majority of the time. 1 area where I would say it is normally worth it is to get the card with club membership in the air travel lounge(s). The fee I pay for it is only slightly higher than what purchasing the club membership would have been and the other bonuses make up the difference. I'm known for being frugal, but if you travel a lot (well, if you USED to travel a lot) club membership is well worth the price. Maybe it's not such a good idea now, but it was one of the few things I encouraged people to splurge on if they are having to fly a lot.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

You have to look at the benefits. My Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $500 annual fee. However, the benefits alone, if you actually use them, are at least around $1000, more that I think about it.

I get:
$300 travel state credit
Airline and Private Lounge access - $250
Lyft Pink - Probably around $250 at the end of the year. Plus whenever I go out. I don't drive so that $10k will never happen.
That Door Dash thing
Airline Mile transfers - at least $1000 a year
A travel concierge agent - Trust me they're still worth it, they find shit that's not even online and have gotten me First Class Upgrades for free.
And a host of other things.

That's why I said usually - and while the perks may actually be worth it, if you aren't travelling a lot (or using them if they aren't travel related) than you're just throwing away the annual for me.

In your case, it looks like its worth it. For me, since I travel by air once a year at most, and don't use car ride services, its not.

Yeah, I keep hearing that but every advisor I've talked to says that it is spread by the companies to force you to pay them SOME interest to offset what they give you in rewards. I mean most still get 3% from vendors anyway. So they're not actually hurting.

Had online graduation for my MBA 2 Fridays ago! It was quite anti-climatic; I sat in front of my computer screen drinking with my classmates over zoom watching our names go by rather than normal 3 days of celebration.

It's disappointing that I didn't get the chance to enjoy my final 6-8 weeks of b-school, but it seems pretty insignificant given all the challenges others are facing. I've had a friend get laid off, a handful of classmates whose offers were rescinded or delayed, friends forced to take pay cuts, weddings and bar mitzvah's rescheduled, etc. Overall, I'm in a fortunate position (for now).

Twitter me

Congrats on your MBA! That's a huge accomplishment!

Ya know, everyone keeps telling me it's a great accomplishment, but getting through business school isn't that difficult; it's 1000% easier than undergrad. The true accomplishment was getting accepted in to business school, and then, having the balls to quit a secure, good paying job in hopes that I would reap the benefits 22 months later (spoiler alert - it was definitely worth it, for me at least). Once you get in to b-school, the grades don't matter (unless you go Darden), and you're basically a full time job searcher, shmoozer, and thinker.

Anyways, thanks for the kind words. It was definitely a fascinating and worthwhile two years.

Twitter me

I admire anyone who goes back to school after they've been in the workforce. Whether it's full time or part time, with jobs, kids, spouses, etc school becomes a lot harder. I've been contemplating going back myself, but I enjoy all my fun free time too much. Good for you!

How did this "virtual graduation for 2020 turn into this?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Hope to see you grads on a football weekend walking out the tunnel!

Whenever that weekend is going to be.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Congratulations to the Class of 2020. No matter where you are or what degree you're finishing, it's a major milestone that you deserve to celebrate. You embody resilience in a way that few others can possibly understand. Take time to celebrate with friends and family, to the extent possible, and if you're coming back to VT for the tunnel walk in September, we will be cheering extra hard for you.

I am bummed for the students I advise (I have two researchers in my lab who are graduating) - I love being able to take a few moments with them and their families to offer my congratulations in person. It is such a joy as an educator to see the pride the students have in themselves and that which their families and friends have for them. I know my colleagues are equally disappointed that we won't get to offer our best wishes, handshakes, high-fives, and hugs in person. We're doing what we can via phone and Zoom, but it's not quite the same. Come visit us in the future!

I can empathize with this. One of my sons graduated this past December, and we met with some of his faculty and his advisor at a post graduation reception for his department. I was touched by how much his graduation meant to his advisor. He had some very kind words and it showed that he had a close relationship with all of his graduates.

Not being able to have that moment in person really does suck. I have the utmost sympathy for all of this spring's graduates and their professors and advisors. With that being said, graduates... don't let this get you down or diminish your achievement. You guys rock.

Leonard. Duh.

Congrats to all the grads and this very good boy

Moose gets a doctorate

Like most universities, Virginia Tech's College of Veterinary Medicine celebrated the class of 2020 with an online commencement ceremony. But unlike other schools, they included one very good boy in the graduating class: a dog named Moose.

It's an unwritten law that it's my lunch pail. I've issued the challenge. If someone outworks me, they can get it.
Darryl Tapp

That dog is like "I can't believe they made me wear this stupid cap!"