Graduation is near and future is scary

By Beth Ann Conahan
April 4, 2002

I’m all grown up now and about to be a college graduate. Uh oh! Am I the only one panicking?

This better not mean I’m supposed to be an adult now. My parents are adults. Our professors are adults. People who know things are adults. I don’t know anything about anything. I can’t change a tire. I can’t even balance my checkbook. Adults are supposed to be smart, capable people. I’m an idiot. I have a hard time understanding my phone bill. That doesn’t say much for intelligence or capability.

I’m still a kid. I’m not ashamed to admit I still love coloring books and cartoons from time to time. I’m totally irresponsible. Just ask my mom.

Of course, a major concern I have about graduating is the job hunt. Could we be graduating at a worse time? I have this terrible fear that I won’t find a job. Hopefully, at our 10-year reunion I won’t be living in a cardboard box in Center City. Hopefully, at our ten-year reunion I won’t still be dependent on my parents.

I’m not the only one afraid. I know a lot of people who fear the student loan monster who is going to appear pretty soon to drain their bank accounts and keep them up at nights with terrible nightmares of poverty and debt.

And let’s not forget about our high school graduation and the friends we’d have “forever.” Do you talk to any of those people anymore? I don’t. For all you know, in 10 years, your best friend from high school and your best friend from college could be living in the same place – oblivion.

All of these things and a million other little things make graduating seem less and less appealing.

Obviously, graduating was the whole point of this college experience. I didn’t come here to keep coming back every fall for decades. Who could possibly afford those student loans? But now that graduation is looming ahead, I feel this deep, gut instinct to just run in the opposite direction.

I’m not ready yet. I don’t know enough yet. I’m not mature enough yet.

And while I sit here and complain, it’s only getting closer and closer and closer. All of the trappings of graduation are surrounding us. Senior pictures. Senior dinner. Career fairs.

Every passing event brings the inevitable closer.

Every passing event brings me closer to a breakdown. I’m not going to find a job. I don’t know what to do. What am I going to be when I grow up?

Over Easter break, my brother, sister and I were discussing college. I said I went to college to get an education. My brother said, “I went to college to get a job. What are you going to do after you graduate?”

Once again, for about the hundredth time, to the millionth person, I have to explain that communications is indeed a real major and (although I’m not too sure, I say) will lead to an actual job. But everything I tell him, I doubt.

It’s just around the corner and it’s not going away unless I fail a couple of classes, which I think in the end would lead to more problems than actually solve anything so I think I’ll just have to pass.

Parents, family, siblings, friends, acquaintances and people I barely know, who for some reason feel they have some kind of invested interest in my life, keep tossing excitement about my graduation around like confetti but I simply don’t want to hear it. I smile sweetly. I thank them for their support. And in my head, I scream.

Because, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I don’t want to graduate.

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Beth Ann Conahan

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