Come May 13th 2016, I will be dressed in black and gold and will walk across a stage in front of thousands of people to grab a piece of paper that says I did it. My graduating class and I have sat through years of lectures, tests, and papers. Then there were the late nights staring at computer screens and textbooks with the help of energy drinks. Early mornings in over stuffed lecture halls, trying to not let our heads hit the desk, still too tired from the night before.
You must be reading this and thinking to yourself; “this sounds extremely unpleasant and stressful. , and sometimes it is, but college isn’t all stress.
College is about making new friends, some friends that will be with you for life. New friends mean new scenes. You’ll go to parties, house shows, and school function events like meet and greets and art shows. You’ll meet more types of people than you thought existed- people from a variety of races, creeds, and cultures. You’ll learn who to value in your life and who will benefit you. You might make the right connections and land your dream job. Or you won’t. But at those moments at those art shows and parties the impending doom of the future isn’t present. And that is the lesson I have learned from college.
Your future is important. It could decide your overall happiness if you let it. But being focused entirely on it is not what you should do. College taught me to cherish things as they happen. I will get to things when I do. My future is not happening right now. I cannot rush myself into everything all at once.
Like a lot of my fellow graduates I will be the first person in my family to even attend college, let alone graduate from it. It took a lot for me to get here. Working two jobs at once, carrying a full load of classes, and working internships at the same time were my grueling routine. This is the case for a lot people graduating this year. Our shoulders are heavy with responsibility, but it does not stop us. It is a stressful endeavor but our eyes are on the prize. But we cannot forget to take breaks along the way. It’s ok to relax every once in a while.
The last year is probably the most stressful year for college attendees. Looking for jobs that might not materialize and trying to maintain grades so you actually do graduate. You’ll be drowned in papers, textbooks, and notes. But just stop every once in a while. Sit outside on a nice day, go downtown on a weekend night instead of studying, and attend that friend’s party when you should be writing a paper. Every once in a while, just take a break. Breathe. Worrying about what will happen won’t stop it from happening.
This is something I have to repeat to myself every day, because like most college attendees, the stress of college and life in general has led me to have some serious moments of doubts about my future. Is this the right path for me? Should I just drop out and work in retail? Would it be better if I change majors?. A 2011 national survey found that 62% of college students have anxiety. Students are so worried about doing well in college because they think it will define how well they do in life. That a college degree and graduating with honors will land them the job they want and ultimately lead to happiness. But it is how you handle college and how you grow from it that will land you happiness. Making friends and being social is a part of college.
If you are constantly buried in a book, opportunities and happiness will pass you by. It is when you take hold of your future and not let it consume your every day that it will actually happen. So don’t worry graduators we’ve got this! Just five more weeks and we can start that future.
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