With spring break over, nothing except for a few paltry exams and capstone projects stand in the way of us grabbing our diplomas and gleefully tossing our black caps into the air. For the procrastinators who, um, have not yet begun their capstone projects, some long all-nighters are also in store, but for the most part, the next six weeks are a time for joyful anticipation and the disregarding of homework assignments.
But interestingly, a prolonged and pathetic moan can be heard among many graduating seniors: “Spring break is over, we’re graduating in less than two months. Is this real life? I wish I could go back to freshman year.” The depressing and weighty certainty that life will change drastically for the worse after graduation confuses me. I’m tired of seeing “#denial” all over my twitter feed, and I won’t even begin to discuss the obnoxious vocalization of the hashtag that takes place in way too many conversations.
So, why does the idea of our rapidly approaching graduation and subsequent life in the “real world” pose such a problem for so many of us?
Okay fine, maybe you won’t be able to wear the pair of sweatpants that, despite having been repeatedly washed, are noticeably stained, and because they’ve been repeatedly washed, they are a good two inches too short and abruptly end above your ankle. But is a wardrobe adjustment really that distressing? You’re young and attractive, wear form-fitting and flashy clothes while you can. Take advantage of the money you’ll be making with that future job and buy yourself some new outfits.
Oh, oops, you don’t have a job lined up after graduation and are worried that you will be broke and living in your parent’s basement for the next 15 years, crushed by disappointed hopes and the desire to return to your college days. While being forever jobless and friendless seems like a rather bleak forecast, realistically speaking, it is also an inaccurate one. You don’t have to have your entire life neatly scheduled out, complete with a detailed career trajectory, two kids and a white picket fence. Consider the fact that you hold a diploma from a prestigious university, have conquered grueling midterms while withstanding months of bitter cold and intense zombie attacks, and have loads of talent and gumption. Relax and loosen the frantic grip on your future that you learned from overzealous premeds and pretentious automatons.
You really just don’t want to abandon your campus routine and the life you have established here? That’s a valid concern; being pushed out of your comfort zone can be scary. But from what I hear, babies don’t want to be born either, yet after a period of screaming, they adjust beautifully to life on earth. Give your future a chance. The possibilities are endless! It is often pointed out that going to college is beneficial on a personal and social level because you can recreate yourself and take advantage of a fresh start at a new place where nobody knows or dislikes you yet. The same applies to post-grad life. The next time that you catch yourself lamenting that you will miss all of your old friends so much, remember that new friends and experiences are waiting just around the corner. In addition, leaving CWRU does not mean you will be forced into an inescapable void in which communication is impossible. Judging from the experiences of other alumni, you will maintain contact with the people who are truly important to you.
The four years you spend in college don’t have to be the best in your life. Think about how much wiser and better looking and more interesting you’ve become over your college career. Compare current you to the freshman year version. Do you really want to regress into a less evolved and more awkward human? Fast forward five years. You could be in the midst of creating your own start-up business or presenting your research at an international conference on global health in a room filled with nicely pressed suits and intriguing accents. Embrace your adulthood. Celebrate your accomplishments. Savor your remaining time here and step across the stage in Veale Athletic Center with confidence… but don’t trip, because that would be embarrassing.
Theresa Smetona is a senior majoring in Spanish and English. In her free time, she likes to drink coffee and consider the possible benefits of her future unemployment.