The roads still untraveled

The fork in the road: life after graduation


After graduation there’s no more assignments, no more syllabi, and no more emails informing you about enrollment dates.

A huge sigh of relief.

But on the other hand, the structure we’ve all grown accustomed to for our whole lives, will be retracted slowly as we approach graduation.

Each year we pass, we leave the last semester behind us, and simply move on to the next one; showing our parents and teachers we can handle this system. And each year expectations increase – with a steady increase in anxiety accompanying it.

Are you moving back home? Have you applied to grad school? Are you staying here? What about your boyfriend (or girlfriend)? Did you hear about the job at…?

What’s next?

When you reach senior year, you realize that the culmination of your collegiate experience is now, and from now on, your whole life.

And in your life now, the structure that was once your safety net, in high school and university, must be put in place by you.

Without a given assignment, you are all forced to construct your own blueprint as to what’s next.

It’s a scary thought if you think about it.

That structure that has been given to you first by your parents, then teachers, will soon be all on you.

Perhaps it’s not a concept you’ve fully grasped yet. Because you’re worrying about deadlines for next weeks’ assignment, the test in three weeks on five chapters of a book you’ve hardly read, a job, and other things and people you’re committed to.

How can anyone possibly expect students to look even 5 months into the future when they have a pile of responsibilities right now on their already very crowded desks?

But you have to. You have to focus on the future while also trying to establish the foundation of your present.

And once you’ve gotten past years of deadlines, exams, reports, essays and exhausting hours at work, you are relieved.

There will be no need to stomp to the advising office in March because you’ll be too busy applying to grad school.  No worrying about rent next month because you’ll be in a new state with your new job.

Or perhaps you are like some of us who have no idea where to go next.

Perhaps there’s an overwhelming amount of choices to choose from: fellowship programs, jobs, internships, going back home to live with your parent(s) or moving to a new city.

Or hell, maybe you realized in the last two semesters of your undergraduate career, that the major you majored in – isn’t for you.

Whatever the case may be, after that diploma is in your hand, your choices have just expanded even greater than you can imagine. Now, you have got to look around and decide which road is best for you.