Updated: May 31, 2019
I graduated college yesterday. The excitement and joy of four years’ work coming together has come to an end, and now I’m trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with the rest of my life. I used to think that I would have everything lined up by my senior year, have a good job, be planning a wedding, know where I’m going to live, but, just like almost everyone else in my graduating class, I have a lot of question marks. What do I do now?
I wanted to end my college experience with a recap of some of the things I’m leaving with—some of them are obvious, but others are unexpected. I have loved my past four years here, and I’m so grateful for everything I’ve gotten at Trinity.
Here are some of the most important things I’m leaving college with:
1. An education
This seems like the most obvious one, right? After all, an education is usually why people go to college in the first place, but it can’t be overlooked. To be honest, I thought I’d have a lot harder time in my classes, but it’s not like high school, where you have to study constantly. Many times, the assignment is due at the end of the semester, and you have to plan your own schedule and stay on top of things, because nobody will be looking over your shoulder to make sure you did your homework. I definitely picked up some planning and organization skills on the way. Other important lessons I learned beyond just the class material include things like how to communicate in the adult world and how to learn for myself and not rely on the opinions of people around me.
One of the things that has annoyed me most during the past four years is my stream of short-term jobs. During my four years in college, I’ve worked with food, photographs, social media, homeless people, college students, kids, middle-and-high schoolers, houses going up for auction, pregnant mothers, felons, and divorcees. I’m so excited about finding a job I can stay with for longer than 6 months.
But just thinking through that list, I’ve realized that I have so much great experience that I never would’ve had if I hadn’t been desperate for part-time jobs to pay the bills. If I’d just gone to work after high school, I wouldn’t have all the stories, all the life experience I have now. No matter how annoying it is to constantly be adding to my already long resume, it has been definitely worth it.
3. A significant other
This is always a nice bonus. 😊 I think a lot of us girls go to school, hoping that we’ll find our Prince Charming. And while I don’t encourage making that one of your goals, I was one of the lucky ones.
4. Many life-long friendships
I still have a few friends I talk to from high school, but in college, I made relationships that were strengthened by the most change-filled time of our lives. We’ve cried together at 3 am, we’ve squealed with each other when one of us got asked on a date or got engaged, we prayed about career paths and huge life decisions together. I’ve been through a lot that I wouldn’t have handled as well without my friends, whom I know that I can call, no matter how much time goes by without seeing them. These are the friendships that won’t fade even when we move thousands of miles from each other.
I’m so grateful for the professors and faculty I got to know during my time at school. They have given so much of their time to make us better people and give us their knowledge. I’ve also met like-minded people who have a lot of experience in the career I’m choosing to go in. These relationships are as important to me as my friendships, and I love having older people I can go to for advice and help.
6. A better idea of who I am
If you’d have asked me what I was going to do after high school, I would have given you a very different answer than the one I’d give you now. To be honest, I thought I had things figured out when I was in high school. Now, at the end of college, I look into the scary future, not sure where life is going to take me. But I know myself a lot better. I know what keeps me going when I’m discouraged, I know how to deal with stress. Going through college taught me a lot about how I deal with people and how I need to deal with them. It showed me a lot of strengths but even more weaknesses that I can work on in the future.
I can’t tell you how much the memories mean to me. We’ve had some exciting and crazy moments in college, and they will always be something I can look back on. Back in high school, I remember a teacher telling me that your college years are the best of your life. I couldn’t imagine that was true. I thought I was having the time of my life in high school, and I couldn’t imagine anything better in college. But I was wrong. Life did get better, although it was harder. I don’t want to live my life thinking that college was the best and it’ll never get any better than that. But I’m glad I was able to make some crazy memories before I have to become too grown up and serious. 😊
And here are some photos of my favorite college memories: