If you’re like me, graduation was more about photo opps and saying affectionate and believable goodbyes to people I knew I’d probably never see again. But the whole event is so archaic. I mean, pomp and circumstance, really? Why?
Anyway, congrats on graduating. Enjoy the photo session and the boring commencement speeches. Sadly, this is as good as it gets!
First of all, no one cares about college. No, really. It’s an experience, sure. But as far as true academia goes, it doesn’t have much value. In fact, it doesn’t teach you much that you can apply to the real world. I’ll even go so far as to say that the four years you spend in undergrad is merely a money-maker for your school. But don’t say that too loud or we’ll scare away the incoming class of 2016. Sounds eerie, no?
Sure, your parents probably dished out about $80 grand for you to go school. And of course, it’s all you ever hoped for during the formative years of your life. Really, it’s what you looked forward to achieving and becoming. The first real goal you ever set for yourself. You did it! Yay! Most people can’t and don’t. But even though you did, it doesn’t really matter. Cuz let’s face it, you don’t really know anything. Well, at least not yet.
If you’re not off to grad school, then…good luck finding a job. The market is oversaturated. Whether you’re en engineer or a social worker, you’re pretty much screwed. Sure, you sat at commencement, in your cap and gown, and listened to some stuffy alum from your school–someone famous, like the one guy who made it big from your school–tell you that the world is your oyster, the future of the country lies within your hands, and that you and your fellow graduates will be at the forefront of all the positive changes that the world will see in the coming years…
Enjoy it. Because…this is the last time anyone will ever really tell you that. (And actually make you believe it). Once you get that diploma cover (‘cuz you won’t get your actual diploma till July or August…and by then, you’ll be over it…) and hear your name mispronounced on loudspeaker, you’ll just be a kid, with no experience, competing for an entry-level job, that really doesn’t pay enough for you to be able to move out, eat, shop, go out, buy stuff, AND travel.
You’ll go to work. No one will really care where you graduated from (unless it was the top school in your state, an Ivy league, or a well-known school with an amazing football team). You’ll be a glorified paper pusher for a solid 10 years. Maybe 20…before someone actually trusts you enough to make real decisions. It’s just the way of the world. Your 9 to 5 will make you miserable…and if you hate your 9 to 5, you’ll probably hate your life. But that’s all life is for some. A routine of 9 to 5’s…stops at the grocery store, and weekends to run errands and be lazy. Welcome to being a “grown up”…
You’ll hear people complain endlessly about their jobs. But no one will do anything about it. They’ll keep working and looking forward to the weekend, a vacation, retirement, heck…even death! And it’s not that these people are lame, boring, dumb, or crazy…they just get stuck in something for a solid 43 years. They’ll be so busy paying bills, organizing their kids carpool, buying anniversary gifts for their spouses, that they’ll actually “forget” that life doesn’t always have to suck.
You’re still young though so you’ll feel a little sorry for them. Unlike them, you’ll attempt to save a portion of your paycheck but you’ll blow the rest on new technology, Netflix bills, and shoes you probably can’t afford. Most of your disposable income will go toward eating and out and buying overpriced alcohol when you meet with your friends to escape the drone of nine-to-five-to-nine-to-five-to-nine-to-five-to-nine-to-five…
You’ll get stuck because well, “If I lose my job, I won’t make rent….” Or “I have a mortgage, I simply can’t quit.” Mind you, each and every one of these financial commitments…even a spouse or kids, just keeps your feet planted at the “company” even firmer. It’s sad. It is. I’ll be the first to admit it. It’s like an addiction…one you can’t escape.
So you’ll stay stuck in a world of unfulfilling days, annoying co-workers (who don’t know when to shut up), and bosses who will terminate you the second they realize you’re no longer profitable. Yup, even the good ones.
This is when the true learning will start. This is when you’ll search in your heart, mind, and soul to discover your passion. Like those people you took classes “about”, you’ll philosophize. You’ll attempt to figure out what gives your life meaning, and how you want to make your mark on the world. This will be your education. And frankly, you’ll learn more—on your couch—web-surfing on your iPad, than you ever did in College.
You’ll eventually come to a place where writing a mere blog entry will be more meaningful than an entire legal brief that could make a big win for your client. And that’s ok. Because you’ll realize that relating to people, and making your voice heard, means more than the words “magna cum laude” on a piece of paper ever could.
If your academic life was where you shined brightly…then work will always be lackluster in comparison.
As for me…I know where my interests and my passions lie. I’m learning what my talents and my strengths are. Someday, I’ll have the courage to toss aside my diploma and focus on reading, learning, and thinking…way more than I ever did in “school”. Cuz’ the truth of the matter is, even though I always knew where I was going, I still don’t know where I’ll end up.
©2012, Leegal Deeva. All rights reserved.