28 Apr I’m graduating! Now, what next?
As the big day approaches, I am experiencing a lot of different emotions. Excitement takes over majority of my body when I start to think about how all the hard work and obstacles I have endured is FINALLY about to pay off. These last four and a half years have tested me in both positive and negative aspects and I say that in the most humble way. All the sleepless nights filled with studying for midterms or just simply praying that I pass the next test is finally paying off! But I can’t help but acknowledge the feeling of nervousness. The nervous feeling of “will I find a job for the degree I just worked so hard for” or “am I prepared for the life after graduation in every aspect?” You see what I mean? I don’t know if this is a common feeling that all soon to be graduates feel… but I have no problem being the one to speak up and say YES WE JUST ACCOMPLISHED A MAJOR STEP IN OUR LIVES BUT WE DON’T HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER!
Coming to a different city for college on my own already had me feeling like I was grown. I’m living on campus, finding my own transportation to and from classes and making sure my shared apartment is stocked up when needed… How am I not grown? Well, it took this upcoming big day to make me realize that “growing up” does not exactly mean you are grown. All of my friends who are college graduates, I always ask them excitedly, “How’s life after graduation?” It’s so crazy to me because every single person I asked all had the same response accompanied with an unsure face. The response was “It’s cool cause it’s no more work BUT I wasn’t ready for everything that comes with being grown” So of course, I question in my head, “ how are we not ready for something we have been practicing these last couple of years?” Then one day, it hit me and I realized what my friends all meant! College doesn’t teach you about credit cards or securing your first place after living in a college dorm for four years. I automatically think of an apartment because living I live in college dorms and soon enough, I’m not going to be in college anymore. It’s what I’m scared of the most! “Will my credit be good enough?”, “Will I be living paycheck to paycheck?” etc… And that’s just a couple of my questions. I want to have my own place so I try to void thoughts like that but I have to be honest with myself. And going back home is always an option but knowing that I outgrew home is what keeps me from running back to what I know all so well.
In college, students have the option of paying for tuition out of pocket or being eligible for loan or grants from Financial Aid. My route through college was financial aid and I say that with no embarrassment because I was able to start and finish my degree. I just have a HUGE school debt under my name but no worries right?… I can’t even lie right now! Once I receive my first student loan paycheck in the mail, that’s when I’m going to know adulthood has sunk in. Having that debt under your name is not something you want while you’re in your first couple of years of freedom but it’s okay. It might take long work hours, two jobs, or even missing “Girls Night Out” to accomplish this goal. So for anybody reading this who has an overwhelming student loan payment, take the time out to set a goal, make a plan and never lose sight of interest. You aren’t alone out there! Believe me!
When it comes to paying off student loans, finding that RIGHT job can help you in more ways than one. Some of us can’t wait to graduate so work the job that meets their degree and pays well so we have more time to travel and just do things that make you happy. We just have to find that job first. Those same friends I ask about life after graduation, I also ask, “Are you working with a job that correlates with your major?” The answers vary but I hear the response “no” more often. I know how hard it can be! No, I haven’t experienced those kind of interviews but it’s not the easiest trying to find a good part-time that you can handle in college either. I could only imagine what it’s going to take to build myself back up after giving your all to an opportunity that may have been your big break!
So yeah, us soon to be graduates are grown! I am ready! I am excited for the next BIG accomplishment in my life! But also, I’m scared! I’m nervous and blindsided as what’s to come next! I guess that’s what makes this transition into adulthood so confusing. I couldn’t be so eager to flock away and flourish in everything I’ve learned over the past years but then the thought of “growing up” has me wishing the days up to graduation could slow down until I get myself together. I’ve realized time waits for no one and graduation IS coming! So remember, next time you ask me, “After graduation, what’s your plan?” I’m going to respond with an unsure look and say “I don’t know but I’m GOING TO FIGURE IT OUT!”