Celebrating My 28th Birthday | Achievements I Never Expected

In 2023, I am turning TWENTY-EIGHT (28) years old and it’s an odd feeling to be here, having achieved things I’d never even considered! Let’s dive into all my accomplishments before my 28th birthday!

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University of Maryland College Park - McKeldin Library - Getting into Grad School by my 28th birthday | The Yasmin Diaries

1. Getting Into Grad School

As much as I love learning and going to school, I never fully expected to be able to attend graduate school, especially not before my 28th birthday. I dreamed about it a lot because it’s what I saw as the next step (and my classmates were also applying) but my last two years of undergraduate college took me out! I was exhausted after those last two years and I was happy to have a Bachelor’s degree, so I stopped considering grad school.

Except my husband was adamant I would love the experience and that I just NEEDED to apply; that I should be open to giving grad school a chance! In January of 2023, I submitted my application for graduate school.

And I’m glad I did! About five years after I graduated from my undergraduate college, I’m now attending grad school with the lowest cost I ever expected, thanks to my graduate assistantship opportunity! This brings me to my next point of things I didn’t expect to achieve…

2. Receiving a Graduate Assistantship

When I applied to graduate school, I had to submit a resume. I guess mine made it past the admissions group because I got an email with the graduate assistantship offer just a few weeks after receiving my acceptance letter.

While I hoped to receive a graduate assistantship during my graduate studies, this one came in a way I did not expect. I did not officially apply for this position (as in filling out an application); instead, it was offered to me due to my past experiences listed on my resume.

Again, I had low expectations for my graduate school experience, so receiving a graduate assistantship (without officially applying) was a major achievement in my book! Something I didn’t expect to achieve this year.

Let’s keep in touch…

Keep up with The Yasmin Diaries through email!

Every month, you’ll hear from Yasmin about…
what she’s loving, where she’s traveling, grad school lessons, career tips, and so much more!

Picture of Yasmin sitting in front of a laptop that's decorated with several stickers

3. Visiting 70+ National Parks

Listen, I didn’t even know about National Parks until I met my husband. Sure, I’d probably heard about Yosemite and the Grand Canyon but I didn’t realize I could VISIT those places and walk around the same spots I’d seen in endless photographs and textbooks!

As of August 2023, Kyle and I have visited over 70 National Parks! This includes historical sites, monuments, recreational areas, AND National Parks. Considering I never even knew about these amazing outdoor spaces, it’s amazing I’ve visited so many before my 28th birthday!

Kyle & I visited Pullman National Historic Park in June 2023 (it’s been redesignated since the sign).

At this point, many of our vacation travel plans include some kind of National Park visit. We use our Passport Book to plan many of those travels, but we also have a custom Google Map to help us keep track of parks we’ve visited vs. need to visit.

Kyle also has a growing list on the National Parks app! We’ve got a bit of a discrepancy between our National Parks Passport Book and the app list because there are a few park units we’ve traveled on or through but haven’t gotten a stamp (mostly in DC).

Hand is stamping into a National Park Passport Book in front of a Passport Stamp Station

Get the National Parks Passport Book

While we were dating, Kyle got this National Park Passport Book because we would be going to one for an eclipse event.

Well, it’s now been several years after that date and we’re still adding stamps and stickers to that Passport Book! It’s a great way to track your travels and get you excited for your next trip!

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4. Becoming a Hiking Girlie

After visiting and hiking so many National Parks, KyIe and I decided to invest in some hiking gear. I had never expected to own a full hiking outfit but now I own hiking pants, long-sleeve hiking shirts with UV protection, hiking boots, and even a backpack with a hydration pack!

Who even am I?!

Yasmin standing in a gray tank top and burnt orange hiking pants - REI Hiking Pants Review

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5. Summer of Concert Revenge

Since I’d had a few concerts previously canceled due to the health pandemic of the past few years, the summer of 2023 was my summer of concert revenge.

By the end of September, I will have attended nearly TEN concerts! The ones with asterisks are concerts I attended because of Kyle but I’m still counting them!

  • June 8: Halsey (got canceled due to weather)
  • April 15: Aly & AJ
  • April 30: Taylor Swift
  • May 14: Sabrina Carpenter
  • May 22: The Warning*
  • May 23: The National
  • June 2: Hayley Kiyoko
  • July 26: Post Malone
  • September 8: Dethklok*
  • September 22: Jonas Brothers

6. Making Money with this Blog $$$

This one has been a work in progress since about 2019 but I still didn’t expect the payoff that happened between this year and last year! While the income still fluctuates quite a bit, it’s been nice to see the amounts come through my business bank account.

I don’t pay myself from this income (yet) because I put it back into the blog (or my social media) with various upgrades, like camera gadgets or blogging courses. In another year or two, when it’s more consistent, I’m hoping to consider this a personal income stream!

In the past year, I’ve tried to focus on growing my blog and social media sustainably so it’s been nice to hit the achievement of making money from this work before my 28th birthday!

Yasmin sitting in front of a laptop that features stickers on the back.

Blogging Courses & Creator Resources

While I have previous knowledge regarding websites and blogging, I wanted to learn from someone who’d grown their online presence and made money from it.

I didn’t end up following the course to the letter (life interrupted, unfortunately), but I’ve still managed to grow readership and make money from this blog.

If you’re interested in doing the same, check out the resources I’ve put together, including the courses I’ve taken!

7. Achieving $25k in Retirement

Growing up, I never expected to have access to the retirement plans and savings that the United States offers. I’ll be finishing up my citizenship process soon (I hope) and I’ll be over $30k in retirement savings by the time I finish my graduate school!

Part of my post-graduate plans includes getting a job that will allow me to continue growing those retirement accounts. While I’m not a specific FIRE plan or anything, I like to keep up with the early retirement community because they have such a different way of thinking about life and the financial planning it requires!

Considering I never even thought I’d be ready for retirement, I’m proud of myself for having this much saved up before my 28th birthday. Let’s hope that number is even higher by the time I turn thirty years old!

Let’s keep in touch…

Keep up with The Yasmin Diaries through email!

Every month, you’ll hear from Yasmin about…
what she’s loving, where she’s traveling, grad school lessons, career tips, and so much more!

Picture of Yasmin sitting in front of a laptop that's decorated with several stickers

I’ve never been a person who thinks far into the future, so it was really fun to look back and see the things I’ve accomplished that I had never set out to do.

From travels and National Parks to grad school, I’m finally crossing off experiences and goals I’ve had for years! I can’t wait to see what I accomplish by next year … on my 29th birthday!

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My 28th Birthday | Life Achievements.

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