Well here we are–the end of the semester. Finals are finished, grades are (debatably) posted and 3,504 soon-to-be Towson alumni are grasping the reality that commencement has arrived, and not just any commencement, but the privilege of being the 150th graduating class of Towson University!
“How does it feel to finally be graduating” has been the most common question I have been getting lately, and “bittersweet” has been my reply 10 times out of 10. College is not only a place of academia where you work for four (or more) years towards a diploma, it is a place of your new normal.
It’s interesting looking back on the past four years.
Your “normal” may have been going to the Den for a chicken caesar salad wrap just to hear Miss Sabrina call you “baby” or maybe it was meeting your friends in Freedom Square between classes. Then you move off campus your junior year and cursing the limited availability of parking becomes your new normal. And finally you turn 21 and leaving uptown to go home without a hot dog from Hot Dog Troy is just crazy talk.
College is a slow progression of independence from the first day of move-in at Tower A to scheduling work, class, internships and maybe eating into the 24-hour framework. College doesn’t have the 9-to-5 vibe because every four months it cycles into a new normal.
For me, I will miss Towson University after I graduate because it is a place that I created as my own. As an out-of-state student, none of my friends or family really knew of Towson University or have lived in Baltimore for that matter. It is a place that I was not born into, but one that became my home, allowing me to share with others. Leaving an institution that built my identity is every meaning of the word “bittersweet.”
But that has snowballed into the whole process of moving on. I took a cliched “leap of faith” going to a new place that I had no connection to, and now, after four years, something new is about to begin.
It’s annoying for people to ask “what are you doing after graduation?” because what they are really implying is “do you have a job that actually pertains to your major?” I am guilty of focusing all my attention on employment after the diploma, but now I realize that it’s not about finding a job, it’s about finding your new normal that creates the same opportunities and enjoyments for you that college has.
We may be young, making us vulnerable in a workforce that people have been engaged in for nearly 40 years already, but that also make us innovative. Being a college graduate does hold the power that we are fresh minds who know how to learn and also know how to offer a new perspective on life. The decisions we make now are ones that build the platform for the rest of our lives.
Honestly, we don’t have much to lose because we are all beginners in this new phase of life. That being said, congratulations to everyone who has made it to this point of graduation!
Go out and get em’, tigers!