Four Years Later: Some Reflections on Graduating

College is supposed to teach you things, like how to think, how to learn to work together, or how to write a ten-page essay about nothing in particular. While yes, there are some forms of higher education that provide more information than others, speaking from a strictly personal point of view, college has done very little for me in terms of being able to think about my bigger, broader adult life.

If anything, these past four years have caused stress, heartache, full-blown anxiety attacks, and things much darker. It has induced binge drinking, sleepless nights, and the shock and misery of not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s not that I regret coming to college, it’s just that for me, I have failed to see the purpose in spending four years trying to define myself as a college graduate, someone who’s able to be employed, make a decent living, and be able to pay off the mountain of debt that higher education has so graciously gifted me.

While I want to be able to look back on these past four years and feel honored, even happy to be graduating, I think that there is much more to be said about it than time passing, the seasons changing. Because, in my case, I feel like nothing has really changed. I may be older, but I am none the wiser. And I may be leaving college, but unfortunately, I feel as though I am armed with very little as I step into the so-called “real world.” Not only do I feel as though I am wildly unprepared, but I am also feeling the pressure of graduating within the four years that Northern Arizona University has told me is the right amount of time in which one should spend learning. And after that, what is an English Major supposed to do?

Go onto graduate school, accrue more debt, and hope that my great-grandchildren at least don’t have to know what it feels like to have to pay to learn, and then pay for that same amount of knowledge long after classes and essays and painful group projects have stopped? I suppose that all I am really trying to say is that while four years felt like a lifetime, I still do not see the true meaning behind having one foot out the door and the other still planted firmly in a freshman year body, happily going along, never really thinking about what it was going to feel like when it’s all over.

Photo Credit: rcarlisle

#reflections #english #nau

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