I graduate college in exactly five weeks. I’ll be forever finished with a degree I haven’t been whole heartedly passionate about in years and get to pursue a career path I’m 100% serious about and enthralled in. I’ll get to move to a big city that’s buzzing with people I haven’t met, cuisine I haven’t tried, and experiences my mind cannot yet even fathom. If I have the whole world ahead of me, why am I having such a difficult time facing my present responsibilities to help prepare me for my future?
I tried to look up the number of people in the USA graduating college this year and the answer didn’t come up. Either way, I realized that the answer to my personal question is that while there are X number of people graduating college this year, I kind of feel like I’m the only one. This didn’t make sense to me because of course I’m not the only one. Everyone in my major, all my friends I see at the bars, and the people I met in the dorms are all graduating.
However, the people I surround myself with most are all younger. My best friends here are all sophomores and juniors. After deeper thinking, I noticed that that has always been a pattern for me. I’ve always had best friends a grade younger, and it’s not all that surprising. I started kindergarten at age 4 and college at age 17, so my classmates have always been older than me. As an Education major, I’ve read studies about how starting school young makes a difference in a lot of ways, and I seem to be a shining example. It all worked out in the end, of course; I’m graduating with grades I’m proud of and a college career without regrets, but that’s not to say that the differences have not made for a harder time than I may have had if things had been different.
When I told my mom about this realization she said “honey, you know why I put you in school early?”
“Because I was a pain in the butt?”
“No. It was because you were ready.”
I was ready to begin school at age 4, and now at age 21 I’m ready to begin my next chapter. My friends are planning their class schedules for next fall while I’m applying for jobs. We don’t swap links to possibly dresses to wear on graduation day or make joint dinner reservations with our families, but I have always found enjoyment and pride out of being independent.
So, to my post-grad life- you scare me, a lot. But what’s life without fear? I’m ready for you.