I graduated from Western Washington University in June 2018 with my BA in creative writing. This time last year, I was in a rush of panic and excitement with a dash of mourning. In this moment, I was frantically putting together my graduate school applications to Emerson College, NYU, and Pace University. My future glared at me through a one-way mirror.
The people who loved and supported me during this time all saw that, in a few short months, I would finish this degree at age 20. At that point, all the clichés and collegiate proverbs began rolling in. Here is a small list of what I’m sure you’ll hear as graduation gets closer, and what those clichés really feel like.
“It’ll go by so fast.”
Each moment lingers against your skin, as if it also knows of the impending date. Time moves fluidly, whisking you up into an avalanche of emotion. How long, you wonder, have you been drowning in excitement and worry for the months after you receive the printed paper with your name and a degree? You glance around at your friends – mostly sophomores and juniors – and realize their attitude is static. You know this, because it was the same for you.
“This is the easiest part of the journey.”
Well damn, 18 credits a term, a part-time job, running around to get letters of rec., picking graduate programs, searching for full-time jobs, keeping a running list of internship deadlines, travelling around the country to different universities, trying to get enough sleep, spending what little time is left with friends you might not see again, and finishing your senior projects is the easiest part? Your time has never felt more divided, and sometimes you must sit on a bench on campus with your eyes closed and bet the real world hadn’t met a force like you.
Your time has never felt more divided, and sometimes you must sit on a bench on campus with your eyes closed and bet the real world hadn’t met a force like you.
“Welcome to the real world.”
You roll your eyes at this sentiment, because you abhorrently don’t want to hear it, but a small part of you knows it’s true. You know the real world will be bills and working and struggling and settling. But, for the last few months of your undergrad, you don’t want to think about it. Stress sits behind your eyebrows as you think of the real world. You wonder how anyone could know what the real world really is? Weren’t these four years real life – at least to you?
“Don’t forget to have fun.”
Fun. The fun is what you think you’ll miss most. No matter where you go from this point, you’ll remember the late nights playing Catan in a floor lounge. You’ll crave the local pizza company and their award-deserving cheesy bread. You’ll laugh when Cher’s If I Could Turn Back Time pops up on your Spotify because you and your friends screamed it in a late-night lecture hall. You’ll think about certain projects, people, and situations. With the growth you’ve done, you’ll grimace at mistakes, but ultimately forgive yourself because you got through it. You’ve made it to the finish line – a feat that is truly an accomplishment. It wasn’t all fun, but you wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
Congratulations on making it this far and having the finish line in sight! I know there is a lot on your plate but consider taking a few moments to reflect as the big day gets closer. You’ve set your mind to do something and you’re seeing it through. We all couldn’t be prouder, and don’t forget to thank your favorite professors – they are with you every step of the way.