Congrats grad, now what?

I will be honest, I am doing anything humanly possible to avoid packing right now, which led me to here. The past two days have been jam-packed with families swarming around the dining halls, girls in heels that they can’t really walk in, and a whole lot of bittersweet emotions. That’s right, college graduation season is among us. I emphasize the “college” in college graduation season because college graduation is so much different than any other rite of passage that we experience throughout our lives. Although I am only a sophomore, well I guess now technically a junior-yikes!, I already know exactly how I’ll be feeling on graduation day, which I think a lot of seniors have been feeling the past week or so. You really really really want to be completely content with successfully completing the American education system that society expects us to, but you can’t be. But you can’t be for all the wrong reasons. You’re whole life you want to be treated as an adult, but once you technically are, you don’t want to be. You want to live in this carefree college life forever. 

This carefree college life isn’t all that bad-making your own schedule and deciding how you want your future to be without actually living in it yet. Well, once graduation hits, this is your future. You’ve supposedly been given the tools to figure out the rest, but has anyone really figured it out by the time they leave college? I don’t think so. Sure, college is the place where you are supposed discover who you are and who you want to be, but while your busy pondering this, it hits you like a brick. Once that tassel moves from once side of the cap to the other it’s like society is automatically asking you, “Ok, what’s next?”

It seems kind of silly for a 20 year old to speaking on behalf of graduating seniors, and this might be all wrong for all I know. But, yesterday when I attended my first formal college commencement ceremony, I was getting emotional and worked up about graduating and I still have two years. My boyfriend is one of these graduating seniors and whenever I bring up the topic of him being an “old man” and graduating he gets kind of a stressed out look on his face. I try to encourage him by saying things like, “You’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you!!” but after attending two graduations this weekend, that statement is scary as hell. 

Life is basically constructed for you your entire life up until you graduate college. Society has strictly constructed a formula for how they want us to spend our time prior to age 22 so it makes it sort of easy. Once 22 hits, there is no formula anymore, you’re expected to create your own. I don’t think there is anything else that can be more exciting yet depressing at the same time. Not only is society asking, “What’s next?”, so are you. How the hell are you going to use the past 2 decades to formulate the rest of your life?

I know I have said before how I have always been one that was excited to move on the next “chapter” of my life, which I am, but that doesn’t make me any less scared. I don’t fear that life will swallow me whole, I fear the unknown. I fear the unexpectedness that life is destined to force upon me. Sure, I’ll miss the crazy parties every weekend, and being able to schedule all my classes past 10am, but it’s the fact that I have to formulate the rest of my life practically on my own after I graduate is the scariest part. There are no more societal constructs to fulfill. It will be time to create my own constructs and hope things work out in my favor. 

This is such a stereotypical, girly, One Tree Hill quote, but whatever just go with it. (And ignore the 17 part).

 “It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you’re seventeen and planning for someday. And then quietly and without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And that someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” -Nathan Scott

One thought on “Congrats grad, now what?

  1. You have an amazing talent Beth. An uncanney talent to express your thoughts in writing on a myriad of topics.

    You will do well in life when it is your turn for the real world after graduation.


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