Graduating in the fall feels all wrong.
I did not intend to graduate early. While I came to Oklahoma Christian University with a semester’s worth of college credit earned in high school, I had not seriously considered the possibility of finishing college in less than four years.
When my advisor told me I could get away with graduating early, I was interested. How could I say no? Fewer student loans, less time spent in class, getting into the job market faster… the possibilities were endless. My freshman self immediately changed my plans to accommodate a shorter college career.
Here I am, finally in my last semester. I have been thinking about these months since freshman year. It feels uncomfortable.
Most of my friends and classmates are seniors who will graduate in the spring. While they are still experiencing the uncertainty of graduation, it is less imminent.
However, I feel as though I am stuck between two worlds.
Half of me is immersed in the Oklahoma Christian experience: cheering at intramural games, stressing over homework, mingling at club events and enjoying late nights with friends. Schoolwork and my social life are my priorities in this world. Almost everyone I know is in this world, so it feels comfortable.
The other half is constantly thinking about the future: where will I live? What will I do? Are there any places that will hire me? Should I have done anything differently in college? Will I have enough money to have my own place and make my way in the world? Will I need to move back into my parents’ house?
These questions play on repeat in my head. It feels isolating to know fewer people are experiencing this imminent uncertainty.
This is when I must take a step back and breathe. I hit pause on the endless questions and talk back to myself.
All in all, I have had a great college experience. I have grown so much during my time in higher education. I have matured and grown wiser. I have learned to see the world in new ways. I studied abroad. I made friends and learned how to lose a few. I know how to be social and when to claim my alone time. I have worked hard at my jobs, studied for good grades and created amazing relationships.
In the future, I have a vision for my career. While it feels overwhelming, I have begun looking for a job after graduation and applied for a few. It adds another layer of stress to a busy semester, but it needs to be done.
I have a supportive circle: my family is loving and helpful. If I struggle, they will be there to build me up. Plus, I cannot help but think my mom hopes I will move back home for a little bit after graduation. I know she misses me around the house.
I will be graduating early, but I will be OK. I think we all will be.
If you do not have a job immediately after graduation, you are not a failure. It may take time and work, but the right job will come.
If you move back home, you are making a wise decision. Make the most of your time with your family.
If you are graduating while still being plagued with “what-ifs,” know your thoughts are normal. You might be tempted to dwell on uncertainty, but it will be beneficial to embrace the unknown.
Leaving behind the comfort of college is difficult, especially if you are doing it earlier than the norm. You will be letting go of one world, but there is a another world of possibility awaiting you once you are armed with an education and countless memories and lessons from your college career.
Every uncertain time in my life has worked out for good. I have a good feeling graduating early will work out the same way.