After four seemingly-interminable years, I’ll be graduating in May with my bachelor’s degree in journalism. I’ve gone from a nervous freshman at community college to the leader of a campus organization and this year’s Dean’s Scholar for my major. Am I excited to be done with it all? Yes! Will I miss it just a bit? Yes!
Let me explain. I’m not saying I’ll miss the carefree party life about which so many soon-to-be grads love to reminisce. College has been many things for me, but a carefree chance to party is not one of them. I’m also not saying I’ll miss the chance to have all my best pals living within walking distance – as a commuter student with friends across the country and even across the pond, much of my socializing consists of Skype dates, Facebook stalking, and heartfelt reunions in the airport.
So what will I miss about college? The power, actually. I’ve kept good grades and come to know many of my professors on an outside-of-class basis. If I need a prerequisite waived to get into a class, or an extension on a test which conflicts with an out-of-state conference, they’re willing to work with me, because they know I can juggle the commitments and they know I’ll make good on my promises.
As the Editor-in-Chief of my school newspaper, I keep in touch with the leaders of other student organizations and with the faculty who head various projects around the university. They need my advertising space and my reporters spreading the word about their projects, so they’re almost always willing to give me a few moments if I need to find out about something.
I’m also going to miss the right to have the last say in regards to my creative work. While as a reporter I am subject to the whims of my editors, as the Editor-in-Chief I can mold my vision into being with ruthless force. Others may criticize it – and I do my best to absorb all helpful criticism – but because the university has no control over what we publish or how we design our material, the only powers we are subject to are those of state and federal law.
Finally, I’m going to miss the camaraderie of leadership. There’s a certain solace in bitching with my fellow student media leaders about the difficulty of managing young, hormonal student workers, and the agonies of dealing with administrative red tape from the university.
I’m at the top of my game, as far as undergrad life goes. When I graduate, I’ll move straight to the bottom of the ladder, and have to work my way up again. While I’m excited beyond measure to test my skills in new arenas, I’ve also grown fond of the responsibilities and privileges that come with having survived the gauntlet of college and come out a conqueror.
There’s some comfort in knowing that I’m leaving during a time I can look back on fondly, rather than waiting until I stagnate. I’ve managed to land a paid summer internship in a state where I’ve never been, I’ve got my eye on a newly-developed graduate certificate program I find both interesting AND affordable, and I can finally grab drinks with my favorite professors.
No matter how much pondering I do, however, there’s nothing I can do to change the passing of time. Like some kinds of sharks, I’ll drown if I stop swimming, so I’d better not stop. Bring it on, World; I greet you with raised glass in one hand and newly-minted degree in the other.