There’s somewhat of an awkward moment every time someone refers to “winter break” when you are a December graduate. Yes, there’s certainly going to be some time off from college once finals are over, but that “time off” now means… forever—at least for undergraduate studies.
While many students are bingeing on coffee, monster and five-hour energy drinks and confining themselves to the small cubicles in the library, the only thought going through my mind is: this is it. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve done my time, had an amazingly fun time at that and feel ready to move onto the next stage of my life. Still, writing and submitting final papers and studying for exams seems especially strange: on the one hand, I want to do my absolute best, leaving with the satisfaction that I’ve truly put my greatest efforts into things and hopefully gained some sort of insight from it all; on the other hand, everything seems so arbitrary at this point—turn in your paper and that’s it. No ceremonies. No graduation cap to throw in the air. Just a random email that I have a free (Is this what my $200,000+ tuition paid for?!) drink ticket to redeem at some local pub—I love free drinks!
Luckily for me, I walked at the English convocation and all-university commencement last May, though mainly so that my mom could have those cap-and-gown pictures. I suppose this is the part where I give some advice for dealing with it all, but you’ve probably already heard it a dozen times before.
The job market is tough; we get it. The bubble of college magically disappears and spews us out into the real world: trust me, we know. Don’t give up on your dreams: thanks, Disney. The value of your networking connections, leadership skills and internships provides a wonderful starting point to finding a job, but don’t forget that college is not a vocational school: you don’t attend to major in your future business title; you can create the career you want out of the major you want. Sending mass applications out to jobs every time you get an email from that job posting website you’ve signed up for is not necessarily the best way of going about things. You have to remember that at the core of it all, it’s about what you choose to make of your situation and how you choose to reflect on your college years and their shaping of that. So stop worrying: something’s bound to work out, and when all else fails, just remind your parents that you went to school to pursue your passions, not that six-figure salary—right?
Hello real world: please hire me.