Hello, everyone! Welcome to the second day of June’s theme week, which doesn’t have an official name, but is basically my thoughts on different “transition” periods in life. Today I’d like to talk about college. More specifically, I’d like to talk about the period of time after graduating college
I loved my school and the feeling that was in the air on campus. I loved my campus; some parts were so beautiful and there are areas on campus that I miss when I think back on that time. I loved the writers that I met in my workshops, the writing teachers that I had the pleasure to work with and the art history classes that I enjoyed sitting through when I had a chance to break away from the English department. But as much as I loved college, I was so excited to be done with the pressure of class work. Sometimes writing those essays felt like pulling teeth and I don’t miss those!
I was excited to be done with school, but it was such a bittersweet time for me, because I also felt really down about it. I didn’t understand why I felt that way, but I was prone to tears right after I graduated college.
I was a little thrown off by the fact that nothing really changed. I didn’t have a “typical” college experience. I put “typical” in quotes because sometimes I wonder how many people really do have the typical experience. I attended a large, public university so I met a lot of others like me who worked full-time (or close to) hours and scheduled classes in a way that opened up a lot of availability for work. I met others like me who didn’t live on campus. So when my college graduation came and went, I didn’t move and I had the same job that I did while in school. As I mentioned earlier, I was prone to tears after graduation, because I was so thrown by the fact that nothing was different. It wasn’t like my high school graduation, where I said goodbye to the classmates and teachers that I saw year after year for eons. After years of looking forward to becoming a college graduate, it was so anti-climatic.
One day my dad found me crying and I finally talked about what I was feeling instead of bottling it up inside. After talking to me about it, he organized a celebration with my family and one with my coworkers (who were like an extended family) to commemorate my graduation.
So, if you’re graduating from college and you’re feeling a little down as well, here are my suggestions on how to deal with it.
Acknowledge your feelings. At the time, I felt like I shouldn’t be feeling so conflicted, but now that I look back on it, it only seems natural that I would. A five year period of time in my life that I really enjoyed had come to an end. Not only that, but I knew when I graduated from high school that I’d find my way to college. After I graduated college I didn’t have a clear “next step.” I knew that I’d look for a different job than the one that I had, but I didn’t know where or what that job would be. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to that period of time in my life and a little scary to look ahead and think, “What next?” And I think those are normal things to feel. So acknowledge those feelings and talk to someone about it. I felt so much relief after talking to my dad and sharing how conflicted I was.
Do something to celebrate! I didn’t want to do anything big to celebrate, but I realized that not doing something big didn’t mean that I shouldn’t do anything at all. You put a lot of time and effort into your studies. It was hard work. Take a moment to look back on that time and think, “I did it!” And gather together with the people that you love so that they can celebrate with you.
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Other posts from the week: 01
PS – Is College Worth It?
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