Column: Graduates, this is just the beginning of the rest of your life
Members of the Class of 2014 during the UA 150th commencement ceremony at Arizona Stadium on May 17, 2014.
Graduation is an exciting and daunting time for all seniors. Some of you may know what you are doing after you get that piece of paper, while others of you need more time to figure it out. Whether its graduate school, a job or maybe a planned gap year that holds unplanned experiences, the possibilities are endless. Regardless of where you are going to be after walking across that stage and throwing your cap in the air, it is important that you all take away certain experiences and lessons from your time spent in college.
As someone who went through the high school graduation process only a year ago, I may not have the most knowledge about what graduating from college is like, but I am still in touch with the monumental life changes that follow any graduation.
I am close with a handful of seniors who have talked to me about what college has done for them and what they are going to do with their college degrees in a week.
Before you go on with your life after college, please hold on to these pieces of advice.
First, you must keep your friends until the end.
This piece of advice may inspire the classic graduation song by Vitamin C, “Friends Forever,” to pop in your head. And hey, if you need to take a break from reading this to turn it on to get the full effect, go ahead and do so now.
This phrase “friends until the end” does not mean friends until the end of your time at UA, it literally means friends until the end. Keep your college friends so close that they are on the guest list at your funeral and family doesn’t have to say to them, “Who do you know here?” at the front door of the funeral home where you lie in your coffin in the next room over.
That may have been a slightly extreme example, but you get the point.
Now I hope you did not peak in college and that you still have some life left in you. Whether you did or didn’t, you probably had some of the best experiences of your life while you were in college, and they will remain at the top of your “coolest stuff I’ve done” list for a very long time.
These experiences were probably not experienced alone either. In college, your friends became your family for a few years while you were trying to figure your life out and they were doing the same with theirs.
Please do not grow apart from this support system. You want to be able to visit them one day and sit on their patio sipping a cold one like old times reminiscing about “the good old days” and sharing with your children how good college is, without divulging all of the details of course. Hopefully at this point you guys will be able to afford higher quality beer than Keystone or Rolling Rock, given that they reel you into college with the hopes of a higher paying future.
The next lesson is, “life is about the journey, not about the destination.”
I know what you’re thinking, “can this girl get any more cliché?” And let me tell you, there’s a lot more where that came from.
But really, college was a journey, and I know that a lot of you probably assumed when you walked onto campus that you would have your life figured out by May 2017.
However, you cannot get upset with yourself for not having your life together, because, you still have a lot of life left for you to live.
Maybe you didn’t get into the graduate school you wanted to or get your dream job, but honey, you have a lot of life left in you to do those things.
As long as you are happy and in the process of achieving your dreams, who cares if you have to extend your timeline a little bit?
You got your college degree for a reason, and do not feel like you wasted four years if you do not get instant gratification from that expensive piece of paper. Your time here was worth it.
Last, but most definitely not least, Bear Down!
Take your education, your friends and your experiences at the University of Arizona with you wherever life takes you.
When life gets tough, and at some point it will, remember to Bear Down.
Follow Claudia Drace on Twitter.