Graduation Day

Okay, so when you’re in college, in undergrad, you have to be working on your escape plan. Basically you’ll have needed to have started thinking about it at infancy, but if that was too much of a burden for you, you’ll have at least wanted to start thinking about it come Year 2.  If you still didn’t know what you were going to do by Year 2, you better start figuring it out by Year 3 and if you’re REALLY in the mood to have life screw you over, then don’t worry about it until you’re like, 3 months away from graduation.  Like what I did.

So you realize that you better get your priorities straight.  You bat your eyelashes and make nicey-nice at your internship with the hopes that your supervisor will love you and hire you when you’re done with school.  The dream is that one day, you’ll be bustling along with your very important work, and your super will pull you over.  You’re not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing: are you being pulled over like a cop would, to tell you what a terrible job at being a human-being you are?  Or is it good, are they going to give you a pat on the back and tell you hey, way to not be an idiot.  So your super’s grabbed your attention and you’ve put all your files down.  “Intern,” they’ll have said, “you’ve been doing so awesome and we’ve totes noticed you going above and beyond the call of unpaid duty around here.  I just want to say, that when you graduate from that school of yours, you’ve got a job here.”  And then you’ll say, “Hey thanks, bro!  That’s super awesome!  You just made my day!” and you’ll go home and you’ll tell your family, “HEY FAMILY GUESS WHAT I GOT A JOB FOR WHEN I GRADUATE AND IT’S NOT EVEN RETAIL!”  And your family will be like “WAY TO GO, GOOD ON YOU!”

I don’t want to scare you, but that’s actually not often the reality.

Generally, reality is that your supervisor WILL probably give you that pat on the back, tell you they appreciate all that you do, and smile at you.  But at the end of the day, they’re not likely to be hiring, they, as only a supervisor, have no real power over that, and couldn’t tell you one way or another.  However, they promise that they would love to have you should something ever open up and they just KNOW you’re going to go far, and please keep in touch.

Finals come and they go.  You sweat as you worry over what your final GPA will be, will you get honors with your name, which professors should you ask to be a reference for you.  And then graduation day comes.  And it should feel glorious, and maybe it really actually does.  There’s a ton of pomp and circumstance, and you feel like you were a part of something really grand.  And maybe you were.  But as you sit in the arena, or on the lawn, or wherever you are amongst your former classmates, as you preen your hair, and lament over your footwear, and fan yourself inconspicuously with your program because it’s only May but it’s already as hot as July, you wonder.  You wonder what’s going to happen next.  On the one hand, that unknown factor can feel magical: you are a ball of potential and you have a piece of paper that proves you can learn good.  You have the world at your fingertips and you can go anywhere.  But on the other hand… you don’t know what’s coming next.  In previous years, you knew that after a few months of freedom and summer, you’d have to scour The Internet for the best deals on textbooks, and check up on your future professor’s Internet Presence and whether you think you’ll jive with them or not, and you’d be heading back into the classroom.  But the classroom is closed to you now.  They’re telling you that you’ve learned all there is to learn, they’ve taught you all there is to know, and it’s time for you to get going.  Take the lessons you’ve been given, the memories you’ve made, and hopefully the friendships you’ve developed, and go explore life.

It sounds wonderful, and scary at the same time.  That’s why it can be so easy to allow yourself to slip back into your old ways, feel safe in your part time job.  You have dreams but… the dreams are clouds… how can they ever support you?  How can they ever get you that apartment?  How can dreams ever bring you a house, and babies, and a kitten and a dog?  Your part time job is guaranteed money… it may not be much, but you can navigate how to make it work.  You know the old saying, “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.”  Is it, though?  Is it really?  It’s not that you hate your part time job (or maybe you do), but it’s just that it makes you feel… a little impotent.  You just spent the last few years of your life cramming and studying and writing notes and essays and making connections and getting up early and staying up late and never sleeping and sacrificing your time to go out and your time to work and earn money… to just do what you’ve been doing all along?  And sometimes that thought can hurt.  When you make that realization that maybe you’re not doing all you can.  You tell people you’re applying to greater jobs, and following up on them, but are you?  And even if you are, is it really panning out the way you want?

Some people get really lucky, and they get that job from their internship.  Others get lucky and find something right away.  Still others run off to grad school, just to put this off for a little longer.  Some people never look at all.

So you decide that is not going to be you.  You ARE going to hunt, and look, and call, and get told “we’ll call YOU”, a thousand times (or maybe once or twice).  But damn it, you’re still going to try.  No matter what, even if you decide to go to grad school too, you’re still going to look for full time work doing something stimulating.

I’m not saying I know everything or have all the answers.  In fact, I’m telling you right now that I absolutely and unequivocally do not.  But you know what?

Don’t ever give up the dreams.  I know it’s super cheesy, but don’t let your big, voluminous clouds of dreams float away.  Hold on tightly to them, and try to make them work for you, in whatever way you can.

Even if it’s just a hobby writing a blog.

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