June 5, 2015

Post Grad Crisis

"Remember, you should be incredibly proud of yourself and everything you have accomplished in the last four years." 

I have spent the last five months having intermittent panic attacks about my wayward life, and I know many others who seem to be having this same post-grad life crisis. It is petrifying to have completed what we have worked our entire lives for and be haunted by THE question: 

"What am I doing with my life?" 

The only thing more daunting than that question, is the answer:


(just look at the girl below: is she ready for the real world? *forbidding music plays*)

Maybe the worst part about this existential crisis is that it trivializes our accomplishment. Most days I am not appreciating that I worked hard, spent a semester traveling Europe, graduated early & with honors, pursued a major I loved and felt passionate about, and was privileged enough to have received a fantastic education. Instead, I have had countless hours of feelings of failure for not having graduated with a step by step plan for the rest of my life. Every single person who graduates should get to immediately denounce any label as a "failure". 

I am exceptionally indebted to the words of professor Nancy Marlin, who spoke during the Phi Beta Kappa Commencement. What she said was not revolutionary, but it was said at the right time and in the right context to really hit home. Eventually we will all figure out what is next, but it is more than okay to be taking the time to figure it out. I keep trying to remind myself to simply appreciate that for the first time in my entire life (which at only 21, isn't even all that long), I DON'T have a plan. 

I have plenty of reminders that life is going to be fantastic (even without a job right out of college), starting with my very snazzy graduation cap: 

Another easy reminder, is the knowledge that, in reality, the only person having lapses in confidence about my ability to succeed is me, while everyone else, especially my wonderful family who came out for my graduation, is very sure I will do great things. They more than deserved the round of applause they got at commencement, along with the many other wonderful support systems of the graduates sitting beside me. 

My actual Department of Classics & Humanties ceremony (after the 5 month wait), with professor Joe Smith narrating, was a decent way to remember why I majored in European Humanities. 

I am sure I either chose my major for its unique look on history with an appreciative eye for culture OR so I could have a department commencement with all of ten graduates, banter, and silly faces mid ceremony.  

The really funny thing, that I somehow didn't expect, was that dressed in all my commencement garb, I actually felt like a real graduate. I had one of those sure moments, right out Legally Blonde, where I wanted to pull an Elle Woods and just squeal "WE DID IT!"

(Ok so in this picture I don't look like a triumphant graduate in the least, but the face of "Ohmygosh I have a diploma and did this whole graduation thing" is too perfectly candid to not include). 

I also had a grand University-style commencement, but I have to say, it wasn't nearly as satisfying as our miniature one early in the afternoon. 

Though we were proud of our Major Advisor getting is moment on the jumbo-tron. 

However, the hat toss orchestrated by my fellow Humanities & Classics majors and myself post-ceremony, was possibly the highlight of my day, and at the very least, is one of my favorite photos ever.

When the sun finally came out on Graduation Day, being the heartened folk we are, I think the entire College of Arts & Letters took it as a good omen and an excellent way to say goodbye to our big beautiful campus, looking radiant in the sunshine. 

I'm going to make a very concentrated effort to stop having panic attacks about the future and remember graduation; to remember that my fellow classmates and I made grand accomplishments over the last four years. Moreover, I want to value my wayward life, and encourage everyone to do the same. 

We are so free, maybe for the first time in our lives. We can go anywhere, do anything. Eternal optimist and hopeless romantic, I'll be holding onto my big irrational dreams: traveling the globe, going on incredible adventures, and living a life that makes me feel alive, everyday. I am going to attempt to avoid the trap of "real life" that seems to make even the most wide eyed scholars and explorers forget their passions and get stuck in jobs they never wanted and lives of repetition. 

Most importantly, I will continue to eat ice cream in the same fashion as my 6 year old niece, not worrying about adulthood and calories (at least until I'm 25 and my metabolism decides otherwise). 

Stop panicking & keep dreaming kids, because here's one last reminder to get us through: 

"Fate loves the fearless"

Yours, Kenna 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...