How to Be a College Graduate

27 May

Be terrified. It all ends or, if you’re optimistic, starts here. With a simple walk across a stage, a nervous shake of a hand and a turn of the tassel, you’ve entered the scary limbo of being a college graduate. Decide to make an exception just this once and post a personal story on your “strictly academic” blog.  Partly because the coursework part of your life is over, for now at least, and partly because as you sit still shell-shocked in your Los Angeles apartment two weeks post grad, you decide you need some type of closure. Instead of going to a therapist or complaining to a girlfriend like a normal person, decided to write down, not everything, but as much as you can.

See that college saved your life. Look back on the girl who waved good bye to her mother at the Dallas airport terminal four years ago, and feel you’re looking at a complete stranger, some fun house mirror doppleganger of your present self. Realize that since you stepped into your dorm freshman year and met the people who would become your best friends, you’ve changed, you’ve grown, you’ve metamorphosized. You would like to think you’ve become better. Though you’re only a short three-hour plane ride away from your home in Fort Worth, feel you might as well be on a different planet in terms of exposure. You’ve met people, gone places and had experiences you never imagined you would have. Your world that was previously the size of a thimble exploded into an entire galaxy, a big bang your mind is still trying to keep up with.

Look backwards more than you should. Remember late nights in the library staring at a blinking cursor. Remember the classes you ditched to lounge at the beach. Remember not remembering your best friend’s 21st birthday party. Remember that one political science professor who changed your views on just about everything. Remember obsessing about that one frat douche for an entire semester sophomore year only to say ‘have a good summer’ on the last day of class. Remember impromptu weekend road trips to Vegas and San Francisco. Remember the endless parade of unpaid internships. Remember spending the most transformative four months of your life in Prague. But most of all remember the hours you spent with your friends doing absolutely nothing. Realize your life will never be like this again.

Take a furtive look forwards. Have a slight panic attack. Fear moving back home. Live in denial that the friends who have defined your life for four years are leaving. Feel you’re standing still while everyone else leaps forward confident and self-assured. Doubt if this degree really means anything. Wonder if you will fail.

Decide you will be successful and happy. You went to a great school and did great things. Hope that hope is enough.

Try to end the post with a pithy philosophy about life that wraps everything up in a sentimental Boy Meets World series finale sort of way, but realize you aren’t clever enough for that. Besides what’s the point when countless people before you have said it better?

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while you could miss it.”

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2 Responses to “How to Be a College Graduate”

  1. Larissa May 27, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Amen. I’m still struggling with this whole being a real adult thing. If you’re still in LA, we need to hang out!

  2. andreavstheworld November 5, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    Reading this again for the 2nd time as I’m nearing the end. Oh the memorieeees

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