On Saturday, I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.
I’ve been asked the same question time after time: “How does it feel?”
To be honest, I’m not sure. It’s a hard question to answer for several reasons. One, college is always a complex process. When you start a semester, it’s easy. As it progresses, it becomes impossibly difficult. But then as the semester begins to wane, and the final projects are turned in, it gets easy, but then one must wait for final exams to be over. Even then, it’s hard to believe it’s actually over. I remember sitting on my bed two weeks after my next-to-last semester and trying to convince myself that it was actually over. I think that’s due to the fact that semesters last for 16 weeks, and the schedules are set, etc. Life becomes routine, and after that, it’s difficult to change that routine.
So on one hand, it hasn’t sunk in, and on the other, it doesn’t feel like all that much of an accomplishment. I don’t mean to lessen the significance of the feat for anyone else, but I can only speak for myself–and I know how little I worked in school: how many papers I wrote in one night, how many exams I didn’t study for, how many assignments I intentionally neglected, etc. But to counter that point, I made it to where I could afford that intentional neglect. So, I suppose I will let the reader decide whether or not this is a good thing.
Anyway, I’ve had a few theories as to when it will really sink in that I’ve graduated.
1. When I went to Indianapolis today (Which I’ll discuss in depth later, and that wasn’t it)
2. When I put in my first 40-hour week at Purdy’s (results pending, as I’m on vacation.)
3. When school starts back in August and I’m not going (that’s the one I’ve got my money on.)
Many people have asked me what the next step is for me, and I think I’m finally comfortable enough to say that I’ve been taking that step for a while. That is, if there has to be a next step. But the realization I’ve gained is that I’ve been able to lead a fairly normal life whilst in college–be with my family, work a job, hang out with friends, do ministry–and that now that I’ve graduated, I’m going to keep doing the same things I’ve been doing, with the exception of working full time and not part time. I’m satisfied with that.
I think that the question “what comes next” implies (ironically) that the last four years weren’t really serving a purpose, in a certain sense. Perhaps of career preparation, but why can’t college be life preparation? For me, that’s exactly what college was. I learned how to juggle work, friends, family, ministry, recreation, exercise, etc. while meeting deadlines and assignments, and turning in at least decent work. As it turns out, college has served as a perfect springboard for the “next step,” which is a step in the same direction I’ve been going in for the last four years! (I don’t know if the reader can perceive my distaste for the term “the next step,” but it’s evident in my mind.)
How’s this for a “next step?”
I’m fortunate enough to graduate from college debt-free.
I have a job at which I will be working 40 hours a week through the summer, at least–more or less, it’s until I decide to leave. And that’ll pay enough for me to get my own apartment in just a few months.
I’ve spent my time in college teaching children’s church, preaching, leading a life group, etc. only to continue doing so without the distraction of going to and from class, worrying about homework, etc.
I was generously given enough to afford a new laptop, and I still get to save more than double what I already had in savings.
I got to take a vacation in my first week after school.
(I was going to elaborate, but there’s not much to tell. Today I drove to Indianapolis, had breakfast at a coffee shop, froze from head to toe at an Indianapolis Indians game, and drove back, and I just get the week off work to relax and get my head back on straight, feet under me, etc.)
I think I’m in a pretty good spot. Life as a graduate is going to be just fine.