Graduation, Reflection, and Other Last Semester Thoughts of a Soon to be Bachelor’s Degree Holder
Graduation is approaching fast, and as I sit in my school library in a small Los Angeles suburb, I’ve been trying now more than ever to reflect on what I’ve learned in my past 5 years (yes, I took 5 years to get my Bachelor’s, and no I am not ashamed). Since starting off I’ve had my fair share of existential crises, whether that be because I decided to stay close to home for school versus taking on an extreme amount of debt for the small private school in Seattle, tackling the trials of having my first serious relationship, or moving out and being completely self-sufficient (mostly). I consider it a win when I am 22 and can afford to pay my own rent, insurance, and phone bill off a small cafe serving job. Then I realize that most people in different parts of the country, or world, have been doing this since they were much smaller, which in turn makes me feel smaller, and it starts this big cycle of self-deprecation. That is where I have to catch myself and force my brain into believing I am not “behind” in life, and that I shouldn’t be compared to others.
What I’m really learning in my last semester of college (for now), is how much my life has been influenced by the people around me, and how thankful I am to have been surrounded by such a diverse community, which truly affected my perceptions of the society and world around me. I remember being afraid to discuss politics with anyone, actually I remember being afraid to discuss any kind of controversial subject with anyone. I was unknowing and frightened of the intellect that always happened to come from the people I was drawn to. Little did I know that was what propelled me in my own studies and search to make sense of that world. I’m not sure if I was just lucky or if there was some kind of subconscious yearning in me to be surrounded by very strong and passionate people, regardless, it rubbed off on me eventually.
I can firmly say that although I have learned a great deal throughout my college career, I learned the most through my friendships. Luckily, some of the best were built upon having in depth conversations about social issues, feminism, philosophy, and politics. It was these very issues that I was so afraid of that led me into the welcoming arms of what are now my closest and most reliable friends. As graduation approaches, what fuels my most warm and fond memories are what I gained through deep and invested social interactions. If I hadn’t pushed forward through my comfort zone, and voiced my opinions, I would not be graduating in the same state of confidence, and I would most definitely not be writing anything as personal as this to be posted on a website showcasing political opinion and world news.
As I decipher what exactly I’m doing after I graduate, I’m falling more into pursuing a state of mind over a tangible career or idea about what my life should look like. I’m using what I’ve experienced and learned from the incredible people I have met in my life, and realized that most people I idolized are not necessarily the ones with a set plan, but the ones who are content with their idiosyncrasies and truly love themselves. I find that these people are the ones who are willing to propel themselves into the world, not fearing failure, because they can rely on themselves to figure it out. In times of crisis you really find out the person that’s hidden deep in the parts of yourself that often go unexplored. It’s not until you are stranded somewhere without the comfort of home to enter survival mode and really see what you’re made of. I realize the privilege in being able to say that, as there are many that can’t afford the luxury of being able to take any time out of their lives to just “see what happens.” Acknowledging that and being an advocate for those who do not have a voice is a large goal of mine, especially in today’s political climate. Having an awareness and appreciation for all that happens around you are truly the most important aspects I’ve learned throughout my time in school. I plan to utilize those skills to the best of my ability, and grow more than ever after I graduate. If there’s one thing I learned, it’s to never let one thing be enough. There’s always more to discover.