Three years ago, to this date, four awesome years of my life came to an end when I graduated from Francis Marion University with my B.A. in Professional Writing/English.
For helping me along the way, I’d like to thank my parents, professors, the 5638395 on-campus jobs that employed me, and the maker of Oodles of Noodles.
Our graduation was on Cinco de Mayo, although most everyone celebrated the night before, as was evident by the number of folks chugging Red Bull to stay awake in the graduation lineup. But it’s all good, because graduation involves lots of pictures and that works when you won’t remember an event, right?
I dreaded my college graduation almost the entire semester. A lot of people say they’re ready to graduate and be done with college. I wasn’t- I loved college, and I never let my crazy graduation anxiety get in the way of having an awesome time.
Looking back, I think what scared me the most was the unknown.
When I was a junior/senior, I always knew what I was doing (or at least supposed to be doing) at most any given time. I had a long, intensive schedule of classes, jobs, and extracurricular activities. Being a full time student, working 3 jobs, writing for the college paper, and being a member of every on campus organization that gave me a t-shirt meant 10-11 hour days, but I was cool with that because I spent much of that day doing what I loved: writing, tutoring, and being involved.
I always had a place to be, and usually I was there. Except for when I was being a slacker, of course, but all college students are entitled to slack off some- we have to
learn to cleverly disguise it before we enter the workforce get it out of our system.
But after May 5, 2007, my very familiar undergraduate schedule would come to an end.
For those of us who get to experience it (everyone remembers the “Look to your left, look to your right” speech, right?), graduation at FMU is really one of the happiest days on campus, along with freshman move in. I think everyone gets any sad emotions out before they graduate- everyone is usually all smiles, and despite my anxiety about the future, I was too.
A lot of people still say you don’t really need a college degree to make it. This happened at one of my former places of employment, where higher education made management see you more as a threat rather than an asset. It’s unfortunate that attitudes like this still exist, but believe me- they do. Sure- there are plenty of successful people without degrees, even though that number has definitely dwindled, and those people have to work even harder to get in the door.
What makes me proud of those of us who are FMU alumni, is that through four years (or more), we stuck with college.
It wasn’t easy, and I’ll admit I definitely had it easier than most, considering I was a traditional college student and had no major money concerns due to scholarships. The summer after my freshman year, when I was offered a very lucrative insurance job (this job paid what many of my college graduate friends make in various call centers), it wouldn’t been pretty tempting to just take the job and leave school. During the first semester of my junior year, when I STILL had NO clue what I wanted to major in or do with my life, it would have been easy to just move home and “take some time off”.
Sticking with something for four (or more) years isn’t easy, folks. I know a lot of people who haven’t stuck with the same job or company for four years. Some people haven’t stuck with the same significant other for four years. But we persevered for at least four years and got our degrees. That’s what sets college graduates apart, folks.
If you’re going to graduate on Saturday, don’t party too hard, but live it up… because you did it! Congratulations!
That, my friends, is worth smiling and reminiscing about each year…