It’s been four days since I graduated college… I think.
Well, I know it’s been four days; it’s the graduated part that I’m unsure of. I have yet to receive any notification via email, congratulatory phone call, or the less-probable knock at my door, and I’m getting concerned.
My entire being is in a constant state of worry regardless of this and the slight idea that I may not graduate certainly isn’t relieving that tension. I’m sure I did fine, but this is what I deal with daily. Anxiety sucks, but I’ve learned that it’s an OK thing to have, given its creativity-inducing side-effects.
I guess all of this wouldn’t have happened if I had chosen to walk with the rest of my class. My parents would’ve been glad to see me do that, but they respected my decision not to. With all the money they sacrificed for me to pursue my degree, I cannot thank them enough. Sporting a cap and gown would’ve been the ultimate display of gratitude, but they are proud nonetheless.
I was at Wright State for almost four years, coming in as an awkward young man who was infatuated with humor columnist, Dave Barry and bad movies. I left the same way, but replacing Barry with a motley list of inspirational figures, including some professors and, of course, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I changed, but I feel as though I haven’t learned a great deal.
I grew as an adult and a writer, now preferring social commentary and political humor over a good description of bodily functions. I enjoy reading, unlike my former self. I love the thought-provoking work of essayist Chuck Klosterman, biographies and the history of comedians of various styles, influences, etc., as well as The Onion articles and tweets. My preferences for a variety of mediums are so much more diverse, just as my acceptance for other races, genders, minorities, religions, etc. has flourished. Not to say that I was hateful before, but I’m much more aware of the situations at hand.
Prior to entering the dorms for the first time, I hated talking to people. In fact, the first few weeks of college, my roommate and I refused to open our door for anyone; we preferred watching controversial movies, like Howard Stern’s Private Parts and A Serbian Film, the latter being one no one should be exposed to. Of course, we eventually broke out of that phase and made some great friends. Besides a few brushed shoulders on campus, we’re hardly in contact anymore. It upsets me because we left the dorms on a note that seemed like we would all reunite once again. I cried on my way home because they all meant so much to me and it was difficult to let that go. I have faith that we’ll all be in the same room again, watching each other play video games and listening to Lana Del Rey on vinyl.
With such an amazing experience in the dorms, despite the lack of kitchen and decent meal plan, I began to enjoy conversing with people, eventually leading to my fascination with interviewing people. Because I was a mass communication major, with little to no communication skills, it was a necessary thing for me to embrace. Eventually, I learned that a communication degree, though ‘diverse,’ has a stigma behind it, the students within that field referring to it as a ‘bullshit’ degree. So, halfway through my Sophomore year, I decided to switch to English with a focus in Creative Writing; an equally stigma-oriented degree.
I had always loved writing, typically humorous crap along the lines of Dave Barry’s work. I compiled a collection of essays, comics, and short stories into a book titled, When I Don’t Know the Speed Limit (I Go 40), otherwise known as A Horrendous, Steaming Pile of Shit. It was the worst thing I had ever written and read, but it was over 200 pages. It took me three years to assemble it, and every day I worked on it was a thrill. Though it didn’t turn out the way I had planned, nor was it satisfactory for human consumption, I never once believed it was a waste of my time. I learned a lot from my experience with it, growing as a writer and a person. The only way you can become a better writer is by writing.
The next year had come along and I attempted to write a musical, which turned out to be a huge miscarriage, but nevertheless, I moved on, working on different, superior projects. Never do I have an empty head. I constantly think of ideas for stories, scripts, comics, and poems. Some more inferior than others, but occasionally there’s one worth pursuing. In the creative writing focus, students have the choice to go into short stories or poetry, which upset me because I wanted to go into dramatic writing. I chose the short story route because I thought that’s what I wanted. After two years of monotonous character and setting descriptions, I discovered that poetry is more my forte, though I prefer writing scripts over both. That’s honestly what I would like to do.
But for now, I’m just freaking out. It’s now been seven days since graduation and I’m happy to announce that I did maintain decent grades. ABBA to be exact. Just call me the “Dancing Queen.”
As of now, I have no jobs lined up, nor have I taken the time to apply. I’ve just been lounging around my apartment, living off my savings, attempting to write, but failing. Creative writing, or any writing for that matter, is not easy. It’s an art, and if you’re not in the right mindset, there’s no way you’ll be able to churn something out.
I told myself I was going to take a few months off because I’ve been in school for the past sixteen or so years, but I’m not enjoying it so far. I need to do something. My original plan was to write a few scripts, buy a nice camera, and shoot some short films. So far, I’ve done none of that, but I have submitted some poetry. I should be getting a response within the next couple of days. If the poems are rejected, more reason to try again. If they are accepted, more reason to write some more.
This is the life I’ve chosen, one in which involves a hell of a lot of waiting and time to overthink. And though it’s been just one week since I finished college, I’m not liking it yet. I’ll become acclimated, I’m sure, just as I did with school, making friends, and accepting defeat, only to move along to something better.
To those of you in my graduating class not only at Wright State, but all universities, congratulations on your achievements. I wish you only but the best in your pursuit of the career of your choosing, because holy shit, there isn’t much out there.
Well, at least not for an English major.