Author: Hannah Gettleman
It’s only been a couple of days, but I still can’t believe it’s over. My post-graduate life has begun. It seems like just yesterday that my parents were dropping off their eldest child in her dorm room. I made sure that my college years would be the best years of my life, from going to varsity football games and joining a sorority, to having the opportunity to take a Chocolate Appreciation class. I mean, c’mon, what other time in your life would you be able to take a class where you get to eat chocolate in every session and get credit at the same time?
I remember when I was a senior in high school and I couldn’t wait to graduate and move on to college. But once senior year of college rolled around, I had mixed feelings about it. Granted, I may not have physically changed in the last four years, but I am a much wiser and stronger person, and have encountered a plethora of situations and made tough decisions that have led me to where I am today.
My dad and I both graduated from the same alma mater, the University of Illinois. So when I told him I was going there, he was happy that he could re-live his college days once again, whether that meant frequenting the campus bars and his fraternity house when he came to visit—every.single.time. (literally, that was the first stop we went to)—or passing through the buildings where we both had classes. Naturally, I’m going to push my children to going to U of I just so I can do the same.
For me, knowing that the end of my years as a student was coming was a difficult concept to understand. That’s why I’ve encountered this loss in my life, and believe that, through these five stages of grieving (thanks, PSYCH 100), I will remember “the greatest four years” for the rest of my life.
Stage 1: Denial
This can’t be happening. I can’t be a college graduate already. I was just a short freshman trying to find her way through campus and get her homework and papers done on time. I refuse to believe I’m in the “real world” now.
Stage 2: Anger
Why me? Why did I have to graduate now? Everyone knows the job market sucks. And I’m not going to get a job anytime soon as a journalism major because everyone knows newspapers are dead, anyways. I’ll just hit up the ARC for a quality workout or go to CocoMero for some fro yo — that’ll make me feel better. Oh, wait. I don’t live here anymore…
Stage 3: Bargaining
I’m going to say this flat out—I hate being home for a long period of time. That’s why I’ve considered my time at home just another “college break,” and that I’ll be back in August during Welcome Week, mingling with my sorority sisters and going out every night. That way, I can still live vicariously through the rest of the U of I campus, even though I’m not actually there.
Stage 4: Depression
A lot of my younger friends have already been home for weeks, and make Facebook statuses along the likes of, “is it time to go back to school yet?” And when all the underclassmen go back to school for the football games and formals, pictures on Facebook will only depress me more. This is the time where those “when I was a student here…” speeches will come in to place.
Stage 5: Acceptance
I’m a college graduate. That’s an accomplishment in itself. I’m moving on to better and brighter in both my personal and social life (do you even encounter the “frat boy” after college?) In any case, I have to accept the fact that I won’t be able to get two-dollar drinks on Thursdays (here’s a real-world shocker: one drink costs about the same as three vodka sprites on a college campus) and that this chapter of my life is closing. It’ll be tough, but I can’t wait to start the next one. And besides, we all know the world is going to end in 2012, so I at least had the chance to graduate college.
**All month we are featuring articles from recent grads and graduating seniors on where they are now. You can read the rest of the articles here. If you would like to submit a post for this segment, read this and/or send us an email at email@example.com.**