Graduating sounds scary until it happens.
The day of graduation almost two short weeks ago didn’t seem real. You do all of this cramming and preparation days before graduating to ensure you pass your classes. You have your cap, gown, tassel, and other necessities. Things you also don’t think about that you have to do is pack up your apartment if you are moving, shut off your cable and internet, change your address, find a moving truck, make sure your new place is ready for move in, and prepare for the next step after college. For me it was applying for jobs and getting interviews to hopefully get a job soon. Overwhelmed yet? I am!
It's so chaotic during the moment you forget to go out with your friends and enjoy the last few moments to take it all in before your life changes forever.
Despite all the chaos, I could start to feel the relief once I got to the commencement ceremony. No assignments, tests, group projects, presentations, quizzes, or papers in my near future. It didn’t seem real.
President Jack Thomas of Western Illinois University said during the ceremony that Americans who graduate with bachelors degrees make over a million dollars in their lifetime. I really thought about what he said and how blessed I was to finally be that person. I made it. My hard work paid off. I finally have something to show for all of the struggle and it feels good.
I saw my dad cry after the ceremony because he was so proud. I hadn’t seen that in a few years. Although the weather was garbage, he somehow managed to attend my ceremony. He stayed over my apartment the night before on a air mattress because my stuff was all packed. I slept on the floor in another room with my loyal dog by my side.
Sunday, the day after graduation, was moving day for me. It still didn’t hit me that my life was beginning as I was packing the last of my things and leaving Macomb. I spent the next two days on the road wondering what the next chapter of my life would bring me. Will I love my move to the south? Will I miss my college friends? Will I miss my family in the midwest? Will I fit in and adapt to my new place? Will I like my new apartment? What am I worth now that I have this degree? Will I meet my expectations for what I want in a job? The scariest question: Will I even get a job?
Although now it has almost been two weeks, I can’t definitely answer any of these questions. I can say the winter in the south feels like May. The weather is warm. The time is flying quickly. I am trying to unpack as fast as I can and meet people. Every day I have something to do. I am stoked for my third interview with a company that is coming up soon. My dog loves it here. I love it here. I found a gym I love and I have met some great people who are more than accommodating. I call my mom in the almost every day to tell her about my new adventures. It feels amazing to know how many people really support you and are proud of you and your accomplishments after you graduate. It’s crazy that I didn’t fathom so many people were watching me in my pursuit to success.
To all of the 2016 grads, you did it. To all of the students still on that struggle bus, you can do anything you set your mind to, keep struggling, keep pushing, and never ever give up. Believe in yourself.