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Grad…The Dirtiest 4-Letter Word

The moment we’ve all been waiting for…perhaps the most cliché phrase in the English language. It is overused and in some respects has lost it’s meaning, but to a second-semester college senior it seems to be unremittingly applicable. Think about it, until now you’ve had a plan. If you’re at all like me, you’ve certainly veered off track, but the plan’s general structure prevailed through the breakups and occasional bad grades, the friends and the phases. I’ve had pink hair and nose rings, a job at Lilly Pulitzer, more hair bows then can be counted on my extremities and an enduring obsession with Slightly Stoopid. I’ve (unfortunately) been a blonde, a brunette and a red head. Sure, I have picked the clothes on my back or the sports I have played, but generally, I haven’t had the freedom to make any truly radical changes to my life. I have always (sort of) known what was coming next…until now.

After middle school was high school and then college, where I knew I’d spend my nights with my sorority (for lack of a better term) sisters, my summers interning and one unforgettable semester abroad…but what about after graduation? I never really planned for that. I guess someday I imagine myself with a family and kids and a challenging yet rewarding job….someday. But not in 99 days. Ninety-nine days, that’s all I have left in college. All I have left under the financially aided support of my parents. All I have left to stay up all night dreaming of who I’ll become with my friends. If it hasn’t already kicked in – after graduation is the who and the what you’ll be when you grow up.

I’ve never really had a true dream. I guess I like to think that I’ve always lived too much in the moment to have pursued something as intense as a professional sports career or a job on TV. The only thing I have ever really wanted was to never miss an experience. Never miss a day drink or a night out. To befriend as many individuals as I possibly could and then spend time with them. But, now its time to have a career, find a place to live and make a life for myself. A life outside the one that has been picked and perfected for me the first 21 years of my life.

It’s terrifying and exhilarating to think that in less than 100 days, instead of waking up nauseous and searching for Advil in my own apartment with all my best friends, I will be waking up in my childhood bedroom in my parents house to the sound of my dog barking and my mom on the treadmill. I will be waking up without panicking that I’ve slept through my first class or forgotten to complete an assignment. Instead, as of now, I will be waking up with a free day, an open schedule…ahh the glory of unemployment?

I think I always assumed I’d change the world, be an effective member of the Peace Corps, an Olympic gymnast and an avid reader of great novels, while simultaneously maintaining a wildly successful career in fashion (over ambitious, under motivated). Now, the time to be those things is 99 days away, and I haven’t really started on any of them. More importantly, I don’t really know that I want to be any of those things.

It’s funny, as I sprinted down the road of success and followed the plan, I was slowed by the people I met along the way and the experiences I was granted. I think every college senior, threatened by their impending graduation, has felt or does feel this way. This is a huge transition; we are teetering on the edge of perhaps the most impactful choices we will ever make. This is when we become who we are going to be. This is the time to fail fast and fail forward. A time to chase the dreams we have suppressed; apply to write for betcheslovethis.com or become a YouTube sensation (lol Lilsta).

If and when you fail, laugh because your responsibilities are limited and Ramen Noodles will never cost more than a dollar. You should be as naïve as an infant and as persistent as Ralph Nader. Rejection, in some form, is imminent, but with it will come success and the sculpting of yourself, of the person you’ll be when you grow up. So, soak up these 99 days because you will never get them back, but take some time to plan for the 99,000+ that will follow (that’s like 300 years lol, but you get the point).

Juno said it best, dream big; you have plenty of time to work a 9-5 and live in that suburban house surrounded by a white picket fence. College might be the most fun time of your life, but the rest can be the best time of your life. Take some risks. There’s a lot to look forward to.

I am a senior Strategic Communications major and Painting minor and Elon University.
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