Lifestyle

Graduation: Toto, I don’t think we’re in college anymore.

Well, here we are.

I stare down at my day planner, wondering what’s due tomorrow, what papers I have to write, what’s next. Nothing. The pages remain pristine compared to their inky smeared predecessors except one square that reads “May 18: Graduation.”

This past week has felt like grade school all over again. People stop showing up with books, notebooks, even their backpacks. We chat about our summer plans, our dream destinations and share our summertime playlists for blasting in the car with the windows rolled down.

It’s almost as though I should have everyone sign my yearbook and start swapping numbers to our newly acquired flip phones.

If only it was that simple.

Instead, we’re comparing Linked In profiles, interview horror stories and photos of our adorably rundown studio apartments. These are the realities of graduation and I don’t know if I’m ready for them.
These past four years have been a roller coaster to say the least. One of those roller coasters where you enjoy every minute of it, even if at times you’re wanting to pull your hair out in frustration or nearly wetting your pants in fear. Although at the time you might think “my life is over” when you have time with your own crazy mind, you start to realize in the grand scheme of four years, those moments made you who you are. And if you’re happy with who you are now, in this very moment, who cares how you got there.

Looking back on little (not to little) ole me, moving into my freshman dorm with two strangers and a high school classmate, I wasn’t scared. I had no reason to be. I was 45 minutes away from my parents, I knew a handful of people attending Marquette, and I was on my own.

Perfect.

Enter sleepless nights, roommate tension and cereal for three square meals a day and you have the reality of my perfection. But if I did it over again, I wouldn’t change much.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the last 22 years of having a crazy family, friends, coworkers and classmates, is that you not only have to embrace the positive life lessons, but you have to take those moments of apparent insanity, and learn from them. Learn how you can improve yourself to handle situations, develop your own ideals and morals and embrace the crazy. Knowing how to handle the crazy will get you far in life.

Sophomore year was one of the more unexpected and real years of my life, as I took a leap and roomed with someone I never met (until the day of housing sign-ups), applied to study abroad in Africa, accepted a position to study abroad in London, and had the most amazing six months of my life seeing the world with complete strangers.

Unpredictable, uncomfortable, but most importantly, the happiest I’ve been in my entire life.

Junior year came and went and I could not even tell you what happened. I just remember sitting on the barren wood floors of my first apartment, surrounded by nothing but a measuring tape and pile of boxes wondering if this is what adulthood is like. Newsflash: it kinda is.

Drinks were had as my 21st slid into the tense March air of the Sunday before midterms (it was as thrilling as it sounds). I decided to be an entrepreneur, quit my job at the coffee shop after three years, and picked up the art of impossibly tiny kitchen cooking, all while balancing another job and jumping through the hoops of applying for Editor-in-Chief.

[Senior year achievement unlocked: Editor-in-chef. I told you blood, sweat and tears pay off.]

And now senior year is over, I don’t know where time has gone?

Missing: Time.
Looks like a large blur with bright moments, makes that annoying ticking noise and responds to “how the hell is it 4 a.m. already” when called.
If found, please return to….me.

They always say “time flies when you’re having fun” and I’d say college must have been one hell of a ride because reality is biting me in the ass and May 18 is a lot closer than it should be.

As any good college graduate does, it seems as though I’m moving back home, doing the always enthusiastic job hunt and traveling the world to pass time. I won’t complain, but it’s definitely not the Pinterest board of a straight out of college career and well-decorated apartment life I hoped it would be.

May 18. Just 10 days stand between me and tripping up the stairs in front of a large crowd of strangers. But I wouldn’t change one moment of these last four years, because they were my four years and I sure did live them.

 

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