“Hannah, we all love you, and I think it’s time for us all to be honest, both to each other and ourselves.” My friends have gathered me, intervention style, into a dimly lit double in Murphy. The lights flicker, and there’s a pizza box lying next to the trash.
“No!” I look toward the door; there may still be time for an escape.
“We’re not doing this. This isn’t happening” They have gathered in a circle around me. One of them is holding an overstuffed teddy bear and a box of donuts.
“We can’t pretend anymore! This is happening. You need to accept it.’
The circle gets smaller around me.
“Here we go, deep breath Hannah, now say it with me.”
“Now was that so hard?”
The G-word has been banned from my dorm room, all lunch time conversations, and in phone calls to my mother. When my extended family asked what I plan to do after college, I reply “Oh, you know”, because in actuality I don’t know; I don’t have a single clue. I’m just hoping that they know, you know? My complete disassociation from all things graduation goes so deep that I yelled at the nice lady who was handing out cupcakes to seniors last week in celebration of 100 days until graduation. I yelled at her. For handing out free cupcakes.
Being a second semester senior has to be the weirdest time in my life I have ever experienced. We’re caught between being 100% ready to move on to the chapter of our lives, while still not being 100% done with this chapter.
We still get drunk on Tuesdays, but the only difference between now and Freshman year is we have to be up for our internship at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning. We have our undergraduate friends swipe us into the cafeteria on Taco Tuesday, not just because there is no food in our house, but because we honestly miss waiting in line for gauc. (Ok, maybe not, but who is honestly going to cook dinner for themselves on a Tuesday?) We make spreadsheets of different grad schools we want to go to, but we also still make plans to go to all of the SUPB events that are listed in our Weekend Wowzers.This year we attended the Career Fair to pass out resumes and make connections, not just for the free water bottles and toothbrushes.
I’m not in denial because I’m so in love in Carroll that I don’t want to leave. I am so ready to leave (some days more than others). I want to move on to what’s next in my life. The problem is I am also deathly afraid of that that thing might be. I’m afraid of what’s coming next. “You can do anything,” they said. “It will be so fun,” they said.
So far it has not been all that fun.
When I talk about marriage and dating to my parents, I’m just a kid with all the time in the world. But when I talk about my 40 thousand dollars of student loans I have to pay back, I should have had a full-time well paying job yesterday.
From being a second semester senior, we are supposed to have all the answers now. We are supposed to know what part should come next. We are supposed to get a perfect job that we love, but also pays a million dollars a year. We are supposed to have a perfect relationship with the perfect supportive partner. We are supposed to come out of this with a useful degree. We are supposed to go out and change the world and be informed. We are supposed to not fail.
We are supposed to know what we want.
We’re 21 years old (some of us 22); society just started trusting us to drink, at least legally. And now we are supposed to know what we’re supposed to do next.
What if we make the wrong decision? What if we pick the wrong thing?
Now here I am, a second semester senior. I’m sitting in Einstein’s right after classes have gotten out, watching all of the happy-go-lucky underclassmen order their Asiago Bagels and Caramel Macchiatos, blissfully unaware of what’s going to happen to them a few short semesters from now. After all this, after 10,068 pages of assigned reading, 960 meals in the dining hall, 64 bottles of wine consumed, 44 classes (minus a few 8 ams I may have slept through), 37 allnighters, 8 semesters, 6 or 7 hook ups, and almost four years, I have learned that the thing that matters the least is other people’s expectations of what your life should like.
So here’s to us. Go out and make mistakes: grow a beard, learn to make noodles, fall in love, don’t fall in love, move to Japan, don’t move to Japan. Get a job, maybe it’s awesome and you love it and you stay there forever, maybe it sucks and you work at Starbucks for a few years, maybe you work at Starbucks and it’s awesome and you love it. I don’t know, but I do know one thing: we are the only ones who get to decide what’s in store for our futures, and while that’s mildly terrifying, it’s also awesome.