Viewpoint: Life after Graduation: Don’t Settle

Rae BW

If you’re anything like me, you’re absolutely terrified right now.

And I don’t mean terrified in an “I-say-literally-but-actually-mean-figuratively” manner. I mean terrified in an uncomfortably paralyzing sort of way.

I’m a junior, which means I have just a little over a year until society will claim me as a worker bee. Some of my peers are excited about that reality. Others of us are not. We are terrified.

Somewhere along the way, our brilliant dreams of becoming hard-working individuals in our respective industries lost out to the lackluster reality of bills, long work hours and the possibility of never jettisoning the “poor college student” budget.

Although being a real live adult is probably more satisfying than being a broke college student, the process of getting there requires a lot of awkward and uncertain steps that don’t look appealing from this side of graduation.

We attend college in hopes of attaining financial stability and occupations we love, but the pressure of successfully flying the coop makes the college experience less enjoyable for some students.

The transition from college to the workforce is not always easy, but it’s obviously not impossible. Generations of people have approached the uncertainty of life after graduation, and they’ve been perfectly fine. Just like every other new phase of life, it may be rough initially, but people are built to adapt and thrive.

While transitioning from high school to college, it took about the first semester to really get my bearings on how I would function as an independent adult in a brand new environment. I have no doubt that life after college will be the same.

Over the course of this past school year, I’ve started to realize that much of my stress originates within me, and I dare to say that’s probably the case for other students as well. There’s an unspoken comparison that often occurs between students, leading us to base our success off of the achievements of our peers. I have friends who have planned out the next 10 years of their lives, while I remain uncertain of whether or not I want to change my major.

It’s easy to get caught up in the undergrad rat race where everyone aims to trade their cap and gown for a suit and briefcase as quickly as possible, but it’s one of the most stressful places to be. College is an interesting mix of relationship and independence.

Our peers are essential to our growth as young adults, but they shouldn’t be in the picture when it comes to making decisions that will determine the course of our lives.

It’s important for students to remember that life after graduation is unpredictable. Having plans and goals is an excellent way to make sure we are on our way to living productive lives, but there’s no way of ensuring those plans will be fulfilled.

I may work immediately after leaving Baylor, but I also may not. I may decide to receive further education. I may choose to travel.

The possibilities are endless. Rather than letting this uncertainty stress us out, we ought to let it bring us freedom. Nothing is set in stone, but that also means our paths in life are wide open.

That’s pretty exciting.

Rae Jefferson is a junior journalism major from Houston. She is the arts and entertainment editor and a regular columnist for the Lariat.