As an upcoming senior, this summer I’ve had to come face to face with many hard truths. The scariest truth of them all has been the fact that, come May, I will be graduating. Every aunt, uncle, neighbor, and stranger has asked me recently what I’m going to do after college, or when I enter the dreaded “real world.” I hate this question because, frankly, I have zero ideas. I have no clue at all actually. My thought process is that, hopefully, I’ll find a job so I don’t have to live in a box and beg for change but other than that, I don’t really know. This response is pretty much always followed by an equally irritating response of, “Oh well enjoy your senior year, these are the best years of your life.”
Are you kidding me? What type of human being could possibly think it’s an OK idea to tell a confused, scared, soon to be college graduate that in 10 months their life is going to turn to sh**? With that kind of encouragement it's no surprise that all college seniors do is drink themselves into oblivion, avoid having to think about their upcoming doom that is life after college.
I’ve wasted a lot of my summer anxiously awaiting my bleak fate that is a 9-5 job, a miserable existence, filled with nothing but bills and responsibilities. This thinking has literally caused me to have a mini panic attack each time a person asks me about school. I’m nowhere near ready to think of my current life as “the good old days.” You shouldn’t be either.
After my 100th meltdown or so, I decided that I should probably take a different approach to this whole “graduation” thing. Instead of playing into the pessimism of every 50 year old I’ve come to meet, I’m deciding not to be them. I straight-out refuse to let my four years of constant hangovers, all-nighters, and insecurity be the best four years of my entire life. Just that last sentence alone should make you feel a little bad for ever thinking that college was all there is.
My goal in life is now to never let myself become an adult who lives in the past, someone who only dreams backwards. It's no wonder these adults think of college as the best times of their lives when they only think about how great life was then and don’t dream of how great life can be still.
When you think about it, college is a time where everyone is dreaming. You start each semester with so much drive to make this part of your life better than the last. Even though that hope and drive may dwindle at times, you always end up back at that place where you feel that you can do anything. Maybe, this is the key to living life to the fullest.
I don’t have a lot of responsibilities right now, so I know that my opinion is biased, but maybe these people who are constantly wishing to be back in school have lost this drive. They’ve lost their desire to learn new things, they’ve forgotten what they're passionate about. They don’t make time for close relationships or the activities that make them smile. Maybe life is all about dreaming forward while enjoying your memories, and these adults can’t figure out how to do that.
Or maybe, I’m just a delusional 21-year-old who knows nothing about life. Even if so, I won’t let myself think like that. If I’ve learned anything over the past three years in school it is that, time moves quickly and it only moves faster as you age. So instead of wishing things were different, I’m going to make the time I have the best I can, starting with senior year and continuing for the rest of my life. There is no way in hell I’m going to let my life end after college. To all of my fellow seniors: here’s to the start of the end of SOME of the best years of our life, with many more great years to follow.