After a week of procrastination and all-nighters to finish up our final semester of college, my peers and I attended our commencement ceremony, walked across stage to receive an empty diploma cover, and flipped our tassels to the side. (Was it left to right? Or right to left? I still don’t know if I did it right.)
We hugged our families and friends, thanked our favorite professors and mentors, and probably didn’t take enough pictures. We went our separate ways too fast, rushing to graduation dinners and parties.
We returned to school the next day to pack up the rest of our apartments, and drove off campus for the last time.
I have been going to school for seventeen years—nineteen if you count preschool. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a student.
This moment is huuuge.
It might not feel like it now, but all of our lives are about to change.
I told someone once that it felt like my life was all planned out—until this point. “Get good grades. Take the most rigorous high school curriculum. Study for the SATs and ACTs. Get into college. Now that you’re in college: Pick a major. Work hard. Do internships. Get involved. Graduate.” Anytime I tried to picture anything beyond graduation, it was just a dark abyss.
I now have more focus on what I might want to do, but also no idea how to choose a path.
Those of us who are unemployed and had to move back home are in an interesting situation. We are returning to an old routine, but we are new people. We hang in limbo between the “real world” that we can glimpse on the horizon, and the foggy past of our childhood selves. In this realm, it’s easy to feel nostalgic about what you just left behind, and simultaneously held back by the daunting task of seemingly starting all over.
But you have to remind yourself that even if you’re moving back in with your parents, this time, it’s as a college graduate. You’re so much more prepared to take on the world than you were four years ago. Look past the surface of your childhood bedroom, and remember what you just accomplished. Believe that you’ll get to where you want to go, and make it happen. You’re overflowing with potential, so don’t waste any of it with self-doubt or comparisons.