By Annie Bierman, Staff Writer. Published April 1, 2011
Preparing for Graduation is pretty easy. Have 128 credits to graduate. Sign up to graduate. Order the cap and gown. Show up on May 7th. Pretty simple. The question is, though, how do you mentally prepare to graduate?
All this year, I have felt torn between two parts of my life: my Senior year at McKendree, but also my future life after McKendree. For some of my peers, the plan is to apply and secure a job for after graduation. For me, the plan is Graduate school. When some students were in their normal Fall semester this school year, I was busy taking GREs, securing recommendation letters, working on my applications, and overall, preparing myself for my life after May 7th.
I have felt myself being boring and dully responsible this year—I think people call it being “mature” or “adult.” When did I transform from the first-year student who had all the time in the world to hang out with friends, slack off in classes, and do fun things to this person who has a résumé, signed up for graduation, and is thinking further into the future than about this weekend’s plans? I know the purpose of college is to prepare for life after college, but I’ve gotten comfortable being an undergrad student. Not everything is easy, but it is spelled out. Fall semester, Spring semester, Summer, and then repeat. For some of my peers, there will never be a repeat. After going to school for 17 or more years, its all over! For some of us, we barely remember when we weren’t in school. It’s understandable that there’s a bit of uneasiness.
At the beginning of the school year, the word “graduation” struck emotions like fear, sadness, and anxiety into me. As graduation creeps closer and closer though, I’m not so scared. I know I’m not going to waste my college degree; I’m going to graduate school. The idea of leaving is still scary though. I am definitely going to miss McKendree and my McKendree family, but I’m also ready to live my life.
During Convocation my first-year, Dr. Dennis told us all that we would be together again in four years. At that time, I felt four years was more of a lifetime. Now that I am only weeks and even days away from it, there is a McKendree phrase that keeps coming back to me: “Students Once, Alumni Forever.” I shouldn’t be scared to leave, McKendree will always be with me. No matter where I go or what I do, McKendree will always remain in my memories, friends, and most importantly, in my education.