“Are you excited to graduate?”
That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Over the past six months, almost every single person in my life has broached the topic of graduation at one point or another. After being asked about it so many times, you’d think that I’d know how to answer the question by now. But the truth is – I have absolutely no idea. At first, this realization was a terrifying reality that I had to face, and I sought out to discover the answer. However, upon undergoing some significant soul-searching, I thought to myself – maybe it’s okay to not know how to feel.
Graduation represents the closing of one chapter in life, along with the opening of another. Understandably, it’s natural to be bombarded by a surge of different emotions. Of course, there is the initial excitement that comes along with saying goodbye to midterms, finals, huge assignments, and those infamous all-nighters that left you feeling like a zombie for days on end. But at the same time, there comes the sadness associated with saying goodbye to familiar faces, a safe environment, and that comfortable routine that you’ve been living in for four years. Moreover, there comes the overwhelming fear that stems from not knowing what exactly the future is going to bring, as well as the stress of becoming what feels like a tiny fish in a sea of recent grads searching for jobs. And let’s not forget the pressure connected to becoming a real adult, taking on much heavier responsibilities, and nearing important milestones such as getting your first full-time job, potentially moving out, and better yet, getting married and having kids.
With that being said, it dawned on me that I was getting way too ahead of myself. And I think that coming to that realization is what is essential in moving forward in a stress-free and happy manner. Having obtained my Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from a prestigious business school, I have been told time and time again that a successful student is one who obtains full-time employment either a) in September of their final year of school or b) no later than twenty minutes after graduation (I say this with little to no exaggeration). But is this realistic? Not at all. I’ve finally come to understand that I’m still only twenty-two years old, I have the rest of my life to work, and I don’t have to get hired the day that I graduate in order to be successful. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t find a job right away, and I shouldn’t feel bad about wanting to take the summer to relax, travel, do the things that I enjoy, and figure out what exactly I want to do moving forward. I know so many people who just rushed into accepting job offers without truly considering whether or not it was a job that suited their interests and passions. Through my academics, work, and extracurricular experiences, I’ve learned that it is important to do what makes you happy. If it takes a little longer to figure out what that is or find a job that incorporates your passions, then that’s okay.
So where do I go from here? I’m not entirely certain yet. But having this great revelation has evoked one more feeling out of me – hope. I’m hopeful for my future and I look forward to finding my professional calling – whenever the time is right.