It’s happening. I just graduated. This is the end of the student dream that I have been living in for my entire life. This is the end of set schedules and homeworks and deadlines and classes that I memorize just enough information to vomit what I learned onto a test and proceed to eject from my memory.
I’m gripped with a mixture of nerves and excitement. Swaying between hope and happiness for the future and a tinge of jealousy. I’m jealous of those that get to stay in college, get to make more memories here while this paradise of being a student is no longer mine.
But I must look forward. What lies behind the graduation ceremony? What happens when the magic of being a student and being a senior starts to fade?
If listening to those who have already experienced this transfiguration is any clue as to what to expect after college then LIFE IS GOING TO SUCK. That’s a majority of what I hear from friends who have graduated.
I don’t doubt that life is hard and there are greater responsibilities but does it suck because of that? I don’t think so. Or maybe I’m dead wrong and life just sucks and I won’t be able to be happy with the burdens that life throws at me. In that case, I will gladly go to hell.
‘Famous Last Words’
I don’t usually like writing out lists. I find them boring and easy to skip over. But for my last post as a college student, I have decided to create a list of my final thoughts as I approach the inevitable… GRADUATION.
These are my famous last words. No pattern and no interconnected reason for them. Just my random final thoughts…
YOU PROCRASTINATE MORE THE CLOSER YOU GET TO YOUR GOALS
In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield, best selling author, explains that within each creator (artist or entrepreneur) there is a force working against us. He calls this force Resistance. It’s the same force that makes us procrastinate and focus on fleeting pleasures rather than accomplishing our goals.
Humans self sabotage. I already knew that. But what I never really noticed and Pressfield’s book brought to my attention is that the closer we get to achieving our goals, the more likely it is that this Resistance will kick in and try to sabotage our work. The more we will procrastinate.
Amen to that. These past few weeks were so much rougher and more stressful than needed be because I procrastinated doing work worse than a priest procrastinating leaving a playground.
I put off projects, I stared at computer screens without accomplishing anything for hours. I took well need breaks, right after I took 2 other well needed breaks without getting any work done.
With graduation in sight, maybe a fear of what was next started to kick in and unconsciously I didn’t want to think about what comes after I finish my project. After I graduate…I mean, I doubt I genuinely needed to check facebook for the fourth time in an hour or look up the funniest Tinder Pick Up lines. (Those are hilarious though)
THE QUESTION ON EVERYONE’S MIND.
Being asked what I am doing after I graduate is similar to taking sand paper and rubbing it on the rash you’ve developed for some time now. It’s been asked before a million times and it doesn’t get easier every time I hear it.
My family, friends, co-workers, students, people that I just met, people that I didn’t meet. Everybody asks. Everybody wants to know. I ask the question too!
I remember when I was a kid and somebody would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would immediately answer part time NBA player and part time lawyer (I don’t want to be either of those things now but damn I was an ambitious little bastard). Now if somebody asks me that same question I have a fantasy where I throw whatever I am holding onto the ground (preferably an ice cream cone), tell them to mind their own god damn business and then proceed to storm off.
To answer the question; I am not sure. I have goals and I have some plans but I have no idea what is next for me. Save the ‘everyone is going through this’ talk, I already heard it…
But every time I get asked I try to save face by answering with some plan that involves making money and adventure and excitement. Something that makes me sound cool.‘I’m actually training to be a samurai next year. But like, in South America, and I’m totally gonna make six figures in a couple years. Yea, my dad like knows this guy and that’s how I got the job’
As miserably stupid as it sounds, there is a bit of embarrassment associated with not knowing what the future holds. Despite all this however, I am pretty excited to see what’s next.
How can I say that I am excited to get my ass kicked by the ‘real world’ for a while. Maybe get shit on for a bit to see what I am really made of. Those graduates I spoke of earlier may be right. Life may suck after graduation. But adversity is what makes you human, makes you strong. I want to get challenged. Give me what you got, life.
FOLLOW YOUR OWN ADVICE
Don’t give me advice that you aren’t willing to follow yourself. The other day I was told to travel now ‘while I’m young‘ by a friend of mine. ‘Do some soul searching’, he said to me. This is fine advice and I am happy to hear it but this young man is my age and has as much, if not less, experience than I do. Again, this is still solid advice if he was going to follow it. BUT HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY PLANS TO TRAVEL… ANYTIME.
We are so quick to diagnose others and tell them what their problems are. We believe we have it all figured out and that soon enough everything will fall into place. But when we give others advice that we aren’t willing to follow, we aren’t staying objective and we are seeing the world through a very limited lens where our ideas of what is right and wrong are completely warped. What value do we give people when we say they should do something that we ourselves aren’t willing to do?
Brene Brown, a researcher on the idea of love and vulnerability, discusses this idea in her book Dare Greatly. To have your children become who you want them to be, she explains, you must first become that which you want them to be. Leaders, parents, teacher, well meaning advice givers; this means shut the hell up and lead by example.
Tell others what works for you. Save the bullshit advice that you think will help them for yourself and write it down in your journal. If you aren’t willing to go through with it, why should they?
L’Chaim and Goodbye.
If you’ve read this far, thanks for keeping up and I will definitely be posting weekly as usual even as the workings of my life unfold.
And to those graduating this year. This week. This day. What can I say that hasn’t been said a billion times. I wish you great success and love in your life. The ability to enjoy the happy times and the ability to find peace and meaning in the sad times.
I wish you the strength to embrace the ‘suck’ of life.