This week I did something that made me proud, panicked, excited and terrified all at once– something that I hope all of you will get to do at some point: I applied to graduate.
I would like to say that it was an all-positive experience; why wouldn’t it be? I’ve worked my ass off the past three years to graduate early. I haven’t even had a summer without taking classes since 2015. But it was incredibly intimidating, too.
If you’re like me, having went straight from high school to college, the academic world has provided scaffolding for your whole life for the past 16 or 17 years. It has determined who you see, when you wake up, when you eat, where you go, how you spend your free time, when you can work and even how much time you get to spend with your family.
But in 198 days, all of that goes away and I get to see if the things I’ve learned and the foundation I’ve built will be strong enough to hold by itself as I move across the state, job hunt and look for apartments. And that’s a little scary.
I’ll be honest with you: after finishing my application, I panic-searched Indeed.com for jobs in my field for like an hour, convincing myself that landing one of them is realistic and that I won’t end up back in my childhood bedroom 8 months from now, working as a waitress to pay off my loans.
We are justified in this feeling of trepidation—entry-level job listings request five years of experience and apartment applications ask that you make three times the $1000 monthly rent. It’s rough going out there and it’s even harder having to see friends and peers go through this struggle post-grad.
The bottom line, though? The day is coming where the training wheels fall to the side and you just have to go for it. All the anxiety and Indeed searches in the world won’t slow that down. We work hard, do what we can to prepare and wait for the day that the real-world comes, because it is coming whether you’re ready for it or not.
So for now, I’ll share with you a personal note that I added at the end of my exit survey:
“I don’t know what the future holds or what comes next but thanks to my time here, in addition to a lot of other experiences along the way, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to figure it out.”
Click here for last week’s Chat with the Chief focused on whether tobacco use should be banned on Ferris State’s campus.