I’m graduating this June.
Personally, I think that’s a good thing. I’ve sat in desks long enough, getting lectured at on topics as diverse as the proper pronunciation of Old English words and the solution to derivatives of parametric equations. I’ve written essays about Clausewitz, and the Yom Kippur War, and Paradise Lost, and Beckett’s Endgame, and heaven-cursed rhetorical absurdities in classes I’ve blocked from my memory. I’ve also written hundreds of articles in a student newspaper, dozens of game recaps for our local varsity teams, and one rather long fantasy novel in my so-called spare time.
I’m ready to not be a student any longer.
I’ll miss if, of course. Miss the synapses firing as I lean something entirely new every day. Miss the conversations and the crazy schedules. Everyone misses the chaos of university when they transition to a full-time, 40-hour work-week.
That is assuming anyone wants to employ me for 40 hours a week, which is still debatable. One of the other implicit perks of university is that it provides an excuse for holding a dead-end job and few aspirations. “I’m in school,” covers a multitude of sins, and I no longer have that shield to crouch behind. What will I do now that the world expects me to man up, move out, and (heaven forbid) pay taxes?
Well, my immediate answer is to crawl back into bed and shout for my mother to bring me chocolate milk, but that’s partially because I’m no longer as terrified by those questions as I once was. After all, thanks to university I have a pretty good idea what I want to do with my life, what I’m good at, and who I possibly might become. Of course, only the bare beginnings of each of these answers were actually provided by university, but the academic environment is a wonderfully forgiving thing for students wishing to pursue a variety of interests. As the consumers (of university), and payers (of tuition), students are given wonderful opportunities to fail as well as constant (at times tedious) encouragement. No one’s going to tell you that you aren’t equipped to sit on some obscure board of some obscure student association, even if you’re entire practical experience in the area consists of a two week fling with last year’s association president. You’re the student after all, and if Robert’s Rules fulfills you enough to keep paying tuition, than no one is going to complain.
Students also get access to internships, which I’m going to miss. Paid student internships are often wonderful, wonderful things, as you almost always end up doing some emergency task far above your pay-grade, gaining an experience worth more than any three-credit course in a conventional classroom. Unpaid internships can also be fun because, since no one’s paying you, the rules of the gig are pretty much up to you. Of course, if I had to be completely honest, I’d suggest cutting out ‘unpaid internships’ and instead finding somewhere to ‘volunteer’. You’ll feel less exploited, they’ll be grateful to have you, and the experience (probably) looks better on a resume.
Anyway, I’ve got lots of advice, yet (somehow) I’m still lacking in experience, prospects, wealth, and street-smarts. There is the chance that once I do get a job I’ll be come insufferably preachy, but since I’ve got a number of medical school friends destined for a life of golf greens and Ferraris I’m sure I won’t get too cocky. I hold a Bachelor of Arts, the world is supposed to make me suffer.
Still, it’s going to be nice to get paid for working hard. It’s going to be nice to have a set schedule, and to make decision that flirt with adulthood. It’s going to be nice to feel like I’m a productive member of society and no longer the target demographic of the NDP (Undeserved? Perhaps).
I’m graduating this June … and then I’m immediately going to try to get a job at the university I graduated from. Who would have thought?