I’ve always dreamed of graduating from college. There seemed to be nothing better than finally getting school over with and start earning my own money. School seemed to be a chore, with an endless line of professors telling me what not to do, what to do, and when and how to do it.
Now that I’m finally getting my diploma, though, I’m surprised by the realization that despite my countless gripes as a college student, I’m scared of leaving.
I’m scared of the future. I always have been. I’m scared of the uncertainty it brings, of the feeling of not knowing what comes next. It makes me afraid to let go of the present, where I’m settled and comfortable. Graduation marks my impending adulthood—work, rent, bills—and yet I feel like a nine-year-old stuck in a twenty-year-old’s body. In short, I don’t feel ready for anything more than what I had gotten used to during all those years as a student.
But I know I can’t be in school forever. At one point, I’m going to have to get on with my life. And what better way to do this than to go out with a bang? To march up the stage and collect my hard-won diploma with my family proudly watching? To giddily toss my mortarboard in the air (then collect it afterwards because I just rented it and I want my deposit back)? To embrace my friends and classmates who have been my constant companions for four years?
I may be scared of change, but I also recognize that it’s good for us. It prevents us from becoming complacent and stagnant. And just as importantly, it makes us cherish the memories we’ve made, the relationships we’ve encountered, and the experiences we’ve collected.
Graduation marks a fresh start, a new chapter in my life when I am given the chance to become a better person.