Wednesday, December 30, 2009

University Graduate - It's Surreal

The conclusion of such a long, intense chapter of one’s life is scarier than the surrealism of it all. For students fortunate enough to finish their undergraduate programs in less than four years, the surrealism of graduating from a university may not have the same magnitude as perhaps the “professional students” – those who spend a vast majority of their young adult lives working on their university degrees.

After over five years of higher education, the surrealism of graduating from Central Michigan University was overwhelming. I was consumed with thoughts of forgetting to register for a course, not passing a course (e.g. Geology), or the fear of the university adding yet another degree requirement to my Bachelor of Arts degree. Fortunately, at just over 11a.m. on Friday, Dec 10, the fat lady began singing! I had finished my final university exam; better yet, I finished my last geology exam. A sigh of relief came upon me once I flipped my exam over on top of several already completed exams. As I walked down the three flights of stairs in Brooks Hall it dawned on me: I definitely passed that exam; I definitely passed that course; holy crap, I am definitely graduating!! I was psyched, so psyched in fact that I said all of it aloud.

The less than half a mile walk back to my house in Mount Pleasant was so blissful. I could have slipped on the ice beneath my flats and still would have been more than ecstatic. And all of this is merely the result of ending such a long journey. On dirait, c’etait incroyable.

Two weeks later – after packing up my entire room in less than a day, after attending the graduation ceremony, and after flying to Florida for some RnR– I still find myself smothered with this surrealism of finally attaining a B.A. from CMU. It’s not that I took longer than any other student, or that I wasn’t a good student – far from it in fact. It all depends on the degree. Our parents and grandparents tend to forget when they graduated from college, academic requirements and options weren’t nearly as in depth as they are today. Study abroad, for instance, has grown tremendously in the last few years – a cultural opportunity for curious, adventurous students. More and more students crave it, and more and more employers demand it. Sure, it may add a few months or even a year to one’s academic career, but the possibilities it may bring to one’s career in the real world are endless. Or so they say. I’ll remain a believer even if it takes me longer than a year to find my place in the workforce.

Thinking back on my undergraduate experience, I would take NOTHING back – not the people I met, not the experiences I had, nor the time it took me to complete it.

What’s next? Well, I have a flight to catch on Jan. 7 to New York City. Hopefully, the knowledge I’ve gained from over five years of studying at a university and my experiences abroad will help me land a job in the big city. Please keep me in your thoughts – it’s a rough market out there. Happy New Year! 2010…whoa.

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The Great Wall

The Great Wall
Beijing, China