After studying for five and a half years, I was one of the 900-something students who walked across the stage at Van Andel Arena on Saturday. To my fellow graduates, congratulations- we made it and are now Lakers for a lifetime.
The ceremony went fairly quickly. There was no rehearsal, but we were directed to where we needed to be: Line up here, fill out the photography card, wait around, use the bathroom, wait some more, and then, finally, we started to move. A girl in front of me described it as feeling like cattle.
Besides that, it felt a little like I was looking down on myself, like it was not really me walking to my seat, walking up to the stage, shaking the hands and receiving my diploma. I mean, I did send out a tweet about being lost in a sea of shower curtains. Afterward, it was posing for pictures and then lunch, where I was expected to wear my full cap and gown because my mom wouldn’t have it any other way- she was and is proud.
The weekend involved many good feelings, hugs and support from family. But it also involves uncertainty for the future. As President Haas said during the ceremony, many students already have jobs and concrete plans after leaving the campus they have come to consider a home.
Many other students are like me. We don’t have jobs or many plans beyond the holidays with family and friends, Netflix marathons and sleeping. This will give us some much-needed rest from the rough semester and finals we will have just completed prior to traveling home.
However, it also means filling out job applications. Along with that comes the need to figure out just exactly what it is that I want to do after leaving campus this week. Maybe I won’t figure that out until I have a real adult job and can see whether I like it or if it’s the right fit for me.
And that’s okay. It’s okay if you don’t have a plan after graduation, as long as you have some idea of the direction in which you want to go. This is something I have struggled with during the application process.
The family and friends who helped support you throughout school will definitely continue to do so now, whether you’re heading to graduate school, starting a new job or wondering what direction you want to take.
Remember what Mark Twain said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”