Life After College

Graduation Taught Me That You Can't Teach Life

Life is lived before it is taught.

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Graduation is nothing special. Special is spending a day at Disney World to treat yourself because you are special. Special is walking across a stage, having your photo taken multiple times, and then sitting back down only to stand back up to walk out and away from your present moment significance.

Graduating is like going to the movies. Everyone has their roles: speakers share inspirational monologues, the narrator runs the opening and closing credits while hinting at scenes to come despite the spec scripts audiences are given, and the students are the actors in a silent film, tragically anxious and brave.

Little does the audience know that these student-actors are method actors too. After the last act, they can't shake their performance off. The picture is still in motion and they know of and are used to their comfortable certainties.

The story they told, a trilogy and a prequel, leads audiences wanting something new, a sequel this time. The director wants new talent to write the script. That's not how they see the character. Recasting, reshooting, and the release date has been postponed.

Production purgatory.

Broken legs are good luck charms and compliments in disguise somehow. The image reminds you of rejection and failure parting ways or sharing unfairly.

Do what you love and love what you do, but why did they have to make love so expensive? You don't think there's a budget, not even one that GoFundMe or Patreon can reach.

Then you remember that you can't eat money. There is no school of life; no campus, no buildings, no classrooms, for the school of life. Life is a full-time education, you make mistakes, you learn and learn again, whether you want to or not.

Institutions prepare you for the real world with rules, but the real world does its best to ban and revise the rule book. The show must go on, not this one, but yours.

You saved every paper and notebook from freshman year, not so you could cheat but remember in the hopes to study them again. The past is a sentimental foundation in time filled with strategy. It knows how you got here and it could find out where you are going.

Definition and reinvention. Discipline and repetition. Challenge and creativity. Preparation and action. These are the marks of a student of life.

Funny, you have the personal hygiene of a celibate dentist but you don't know how to wash your own laundry. They call you a millennial; a name designated for the future if only you knew which kind. Apocalyptic dystopia? Post-apocalyptic? Apocalyptic utopia? Cybernetic, cyberpunk Judgment Day?

Your third eye is blind to the punctual future. For now, the patient present will continue to wait, but not long.

The curtain calls you back for an encore. They liked it when you walked in place.

This time they expect a crawl but you know better than to lead with expectations.

Run, don't walk.

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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What I Wish I Knew About Life After High School Before I Had To Live It

Life after high school isn't always what you expected it to be.

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So you're about to graduate high school and you think you have it all figured out. You and your best friends are going to stay close throughout college and you're going to take those long road trips in college to see each other. Think again.

Life after high school isn't always what you want it to be. You think you'll miss high school, you'll always be close with your high school besties, and you'll have all this free time in college. That's just not entirely true. I personally do not miss high school. I don't really talk to anyone I went to high school with on a regular basis, and I'm totally OK with that. I have friends in college that I believe will be my lifelong friends whereas my friends in high school didn't make an effort to keep in contact with me after high school.

I haven't had all the free time I've dreamed of in college, because I'm busy with school and meetings. When I'm not doing homework, I'm making sure the rest of my life is in order and all my stuff for school is in line. I'm not the crazy party girl that people think I am because of where I go to school. I'd rather sit in bed and watch Netflix than go out with my friends. I'm not a 4.0 student, but I work so hard in my classes just to make sure that I'm passing. I study a week before tests and still don't always make A's. And that's OK. It's not what I expected during my college years, but it's what's happening, and most of my friends are the same way.

Anne Marie Bonadio

Just know that life in college isn't all easy, breezy, and beautiful like Covergirl. It's hard and you will struggle whether it be in school or with your friends. College isn't always complete freedom. You'll be tied down with school and life and you won't have the free time that you always imagined. You won't always be best friends with your high school friends. You won't be taking those road trips because you won't be able to afford them, and if you're like me, your parents won't let you.

College won't be exactly what you dreamed it'll be, but it'll be some of the best years of your life.

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