Once again it is the time of the year when a swath of Fresno State students will walk across a stage and exit this campus as graduates.
Sitting here as a senior myself, I find myself battling a mix of anxiety and excitement. I imagine I am not the only one experiencing this, so I have compiled a list of things only college seniors can relate to.
- That moment when someone asks you what you are going to do when the semester ends.
You know, your smile immediately becomes plastic as you ask yourself what exactly you are going to do. Probably continue working your retail job while you apply for jobs in your field. Keep your fingers crossed that something comes up.
But we don’t say that. We act like the college graduates that we are – experts at pulling ideas out of our butts. We talk about our hopes like they were already cemented.
- You cannot decide if you want to buy the grad box from the bookstore.
It’s gonna cost you like $80, but you get a cool license plate frame. But you still also have to buy your stole and gown, which is expensive as well. But then again, you only graduate once, and you won’t have the opportunity to buy this again. You decide to buy the box, open it, and Pomp and Circumstance plays and it is all worth it. $80 to remind you that you are such a boss.
Though you will regret it later when you are out at Redwave on Taco Thursday and you want to get another michelada but you seem to have racked up some extra expenses this month. That shirt you got in the box would have done you more good if it was in the form of a beer.
- The panic that sets in as you try to book your graduation photo shoot and order your graduation announcements while trying to keep your cool because your group members are not replying to the group chat about the project that is due on Monday. It is like herding cats, but on Google Docs.
At some point you have to decorate your graduation cap, but you don’t know if you will get to that because you have your last final scheduled on Thursday evening, and you walk across the stage on Friday morning. But it is OK, because this still is not as bad as the semester you took 21 units and took on the extra Black Friday shifts.
- That moment when you realize that school is about to be done for you. Possibly forever.
This is what you have known for the last 16 years. You have been trained to take tests and perform well. You’ve mastered late night studying and sporadic class schedules. What will you do without the familiar? You’ve been waiting for this moment since your high school graduation.
Maybe it isn’t too late to send out applications for grad school. The sudden worry makes you wonder if you have made the right choice. But you look at your student loan statement and decide against grad school. You have mastered school. It is time to master something else.
- When you are applying for jobs in your field and everyone expects you to have a million years of experience and internships and awards and publishments, but all you have is a degree and a can-do attitude.
You sit back and wonder if you did your entire undergrad wrong. Maybe you could have had multiple unpaid internships while working your retail jobs to pay rent. Maybe you could have worked a full-time job in your field while you were going to school. Maybe the system is flawed and you were set up to start from the bottom no matter what you did. So you email your professors and ask for letters of recommendation and perfect your cover letter while listing “optimistic” under the skills portion of your resume.
These moments, while stressful, should teach you something. Your time here was well spent.
You learned how to think on your toes and create content on a moment’s notice. You learned how to balance your finances, even if mistakes were made along the way. You learned the value of things and experiences. You learned how to work under pressure and multitask. You have learned how to accept the changes in your life – be they sad or be they happy. You have learned to have hope and never give up.
You have had an invaluable four years, now go out into the world and do something with the skills that Fresno State has equipped you with.