Graduation blues

The senior inquisition

Sheehan Hannan

The stresses of college life can be brutal. Constant deadlines, institutional pressure and the “So what are you doing with your life?” question all combine for a seemingly endless series of stress-filled weeks. Add in a job or internship and things can go from manageable to full-on insanity in a matter of days.

But with graduation on the horizon, my particular stress-induced headache is coming to an end. And beyond the stress, my time at Case Western has made me who I am. There are few experiences in life as transformative as college.

Here, I discovered that I’m terrible at math (more a reaffirmation than a discovery), that being lame and being friendly are almost the same thing, that grades aren’t everything.

I also learned what I really wanted to do—something that I never even considered to be a possibility before I came here. Journalism may be a tenuous field—with the dead fish of newspapers washing up on the sand of digital-only ventures—but at least I have a direction, one that is based more on my own personal enjoyment than anything else. After all, loving your job is the easiest way to be good at it.

But despite my looming job prospects, there is something that I will miss about CWRU. In class the other day, a classmate mentioned that she didn’t want to leave, a sentiment that I’m afraid I cannot share. I will miss CWRU, but it’s also the right time to be leaving. For once, I finally feel prepared for where life will take me, and I suspect most of my classmates feel the same.

At CWRU, I perhaps grew more as a person than I learned. I’m leaving with limited by-the-book knowledge, but an array of skills that I sometimes surprise myself with. Critical thinking, real-life problem solving and organizational (sort of) skills are nothing to shrug at.

True, I cannot help but see the shortcomings of our beloved college. A lack of priority given to liberal arts education, a constantly rising tuition and an aloof administration all weigh on my mind. But it is because I can see the flaws in our campus that I’m all the more a fan of it.

My education has afforded me the an opportunity that I didn’t think would even be possible. If, during my freshman year of high school—my first foray back into real education since the fourth grade—someone told me I would go to a top 40 college, and a private insanely expensive one at that, I wouldn’t have believed them.

And yet, here I am, weeks away from graduation, with all the skills to be a tax-paying, fully capable member of society.

If I didn’t know better, this is the point where I start asking what went wrong. But, for once, it seems everything went right.

Sheehan Hannan is a senior English major. He was formerly the Director of Print for The Observer and the Chairman of Media Board. His writing has also appeared in Cleveland Magazine and Inside Business Magazine. By his count, there was only a single grandma in Positively Cleveland’s tourism video.