Life after Graduation - Entering in the Unknown

With graduation just around the corner, many of us are excited to embark on a new journey. Whether it’s pursuing a graduate degree, entering the working world, traveling around the world or taking some time off to really reflect upon your goals, graduation simply marks the end of your undergrad education and the start of a new chapter. So what comes next? Why is it so daunting to enter the unknown when every day is pretty much “unknown”? For some of us, it might be the first time we’re given the keys to a brand new, shiny sportscar we call “Life”, and are told to take it out for a spin. For some others it might feel like there’s nothing grand or exciting waiting immediately ahead. Whatever it may be, each state is transitory.  What might be the most difficult, frustrating weeks of immobility could suddenly change into a window of opportunity waiting ahead.

As a soon-to-be college graduate with semi-structured plans of how to approach post-grad, I can’t help but wonder what comes next. Yes, I have an idea of what I want to do in the short run, but how will these goals work towards the larger picture? How will I give back to my community? How can I take everything I’ve been given and build a system that gives to others? As much as I would like to have it all figured out, I know that only time will tell how this transition will play out.  Sometimes it’s all a matter of timing and luck, with hidden challenges and failures along the way. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been told by a high school teacher to write a letter to your future self, but if you have, you would probably know that five years ago, everything was probably different. The weird transitions you had experienced as a 15-year-old, the goals you had, the fears you held onto, they were influenced by your current state. Goals change. Life happens. People grow.

Now comes one of the most difficult parts of graduation: losing friends. Hopefully, you won’t lose all of them, but some of them might take on new jobs on the other side of the world, move away or simply disappear from the face of the planet. Whatever their path may be, they’re experiencing the same excitement and fears. You might be parting ways, but you’re all really in the same boat. So wish them luck and remember how they’ve shaped your life. New people will enter and hopefully influence your thoughts in ways that you’ve never considered. Coming into college this was exactly what had happened. After sitting through 10 weeks of my first philosophy class, my professor changed the way I viewed the structure of sound reasoning and the progression of steps needed to reach a conclusion. While the whole class was comprised of a series of proofs, I found myself thinking about how the smallest details could affect the end goal. It all starts with a given statement, a fact that you are taking to be true. Then you’re told to show how the initial step leads to an end goal, typically the statement you’re trying to prove. What comes in between is for you to figure out. Thinking about it now, it’s pretty hilarious. Who would’ve thought that there would be so much meaning and complexity packed into a simple proof? But this is exactly what we, as college graduates, are going through right now. Yes, we know that we have a degree in ABC, and we know that we want to accomplish XYZ, but it’s pretty much a series of trial and error, and hopefully sound reasoning, to figure out what’s in between.

What I’m getting at is that it’s okay to embrace the unknown. Stay optimistic about what you want in the long run while working towards your current goals. Get exposure to people you would never expect to encounter and take in everything along the way, because everyone and everything has something to offer.

In loving memory of Shary Miranda