Graduation. Commencement. Julie Andrews. Then we’re out of here.
Four (or more) years of college have gone by for us seniors, and it really is hard to believe. Yesterday we were nervously congregating in the dorm hallways, getting used to the food and workload and starting to make CU home. Now we are the seniors following in the footsteps of those already gone, and it’s our turn to leave this place we have made home.
The grad checklist is easy: Apply to graduate, pass your finals, buy that expensive cap and gown and walk to Folsom Stadium for a speech meant to inspire you about the real world — a place apart from Thirsty Thursdays, hungover Friday lectures and a world where the majority of the population is made up of 20-somethings.
Like I said, the checklist is easy. But being mentally and emotionally prepared for departure is another checklist more complicated. Will this be a time in life to look back on with fondness and pride? Will it be one of those life experiences to tell the kids, if you have them? Or will it be an experience that you hope to forget with age?
Though these questions are worth asking, I do not think there is as much pressure with the memory of college as there is with the memory of high school. If the tagline for high school is so often, “the best years of my life,” what is it for college?
For some, CU might be where best friends, spouses or scholastic passion were found. For others, maybe it was just a stepping stone toward more education. It could even be a lesson that more education is not financially worthwhile. Maybe it is a place where friends were made and lost, where passion was created and then transformed into something unexpected.
There are so many unanswered questions in seniors’ heads, but that is because life beyond campus is cloudy and unsure. It might be the most convoluted time in life so far; I know it is for me.
Whatever the tagline or experience, it is uniquely personal because, if anything, college is an institution that teaches the beginnings of independence, where the adult world and your world are no longer separate planets.
Decisions are not made for you anymore, although assistance can always be sought out. This is epitomized in the act of graduating, which is generally not a forced obligation. Unless you will have loved ones sitting in the stands expecting to see you, to attend or not to attend is really up to you.
So, here’s to life after college, the many journeys still left to take, and the many places you will come to call home.
Contact CU Independent Columnist Kitty Winograd at Katrina.firstname.lastname@example.org.