Reflections of an outgoing senior

If we’re to believe the categories found at greeting card stands, life is lived in stages. We let occasions define our lives, one big moment following another. Moments like birthdays, graduations and weddings are the origins for the stages of life that will stand out as markers on the timeline of our existence.
Perhaps this is why I’d say I’m not necessarily looking forward to graduation this May — the curtain is closing on a stage of life that I feel the world is forcing me to say goodbye to, and I’m quickly finding there’s no intermission before the next act.
I think I knew for sure I’d entered panic mode about graduation when I attended a concert in St. Louis last week, and all I could do while watching the opening band perform was debate in my mind whether or not these unrecognized musicians had health insurance. After all, the modern world is so cruel and unforgiving and anyone officially entering it has to think about such things — right?
My opposition to graduation mainly is because it forces me to say goodbye to a community that truly is one-of-a-kind. A community where all your friends and the people you want to become friends with live within walking distance of you. A community where your “job” as a student — in my case, at least — is to read Jhumpa Lahiri novels and write essays about postcolonialism. A community where you can find comfort in the feeling that people are in the same boat as you. Not sure what you want to do in a year? The majority of people who walk this campus probably would say the same.
There’s something special about being surrounded by people who are just like you — on the cusp of something, anything, whatever that might be.
Yes, there are those over-achievers who’ve had a job locked down since sophomore year, and to you all I beg you — find ­me on LinkedIn and help me out.
For most of us, though, we have yet to do the greatest things of our lives, which is at once nerve-wracking and thrilling, and this is what I’m trying to focus on during my final weeks in Kirksville.
It’s this notion of leaving a place that consists of these types of people and provides such comfort that gives me reason for dreading the final curtain that is graduation — because I’m not sure if there’s any way of obtaining this sense of community in the post-grad world.
Yet, if I can stop my worrying for a minute and think of anything I’ve taken away from spending the last four years in the liberal arts, it’s I always can change my mind about the direction I want to take. I can dabble in anything and I feel I can take solace in the idea of opportunity at any stage of life — this is the mindset I want moving forward and I’m grateful to Truman State for instilling that in me.
Feeling scared is normal, but what I ultimately want others who join me on the brink of graduation to feel is a sense of possibility, not a sense of finality. The community you get in college is a fleeting experience, one that isn’t built to last after you cross that stage in your way-too-expensive cap and gown. What will last are the lessons you realize you’ve learned along the way and the excitement you feel regarding the next possible adventure.