On the Cusp of Graduation

If there’s one thing that college has taught me, it’s that life moves fast. When I graduated high school three years ago, I thought the next four years of my life would feel like a lifetime – it ended up being three years, and that was my first mistake. I already knew what I wanted to study in college and that I wanted to go to law school afterward. But, I thought I had eons before I needed to figure out anything in between or think about what would come after graduation. My first year in college felt more like a few months, and the second year passed even quicker with the onset of the pandemic. Now, after a year of Zoom university, I find myself looking at my graduation date circled in my calendar and wondering how in the heck did I get here so fast.

I came to college with several credits from dual enrollment programs and Advanced Placement classes. By the time I started my second year, I was a senior by credit. My advisors told me that I could take less than 15 credit hours to slow down my pace, but I refused. I hovered around the 15-credit mark for all of my semesters and took classes for two summers in a row. It didn’t hit me until the beginning of this school year that I would have to graduate and move on to whatever came next. I hadn’t even begun to prepare for the Law School Administration Test (LSAT). I ruled out law school within the next year. Instead, I turned my attention toward a master’s degree. I rushed to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) so that I could apply for one-year programs. I hoped this would give me the time I needed to prepare for law school, and I could earn another degree along the way.

I achieved the score I wanted on the GRE and submitted my application for the master’s program I chose. I thought my new plan was perfect until someone told me it wasn’t. After talking with a professor about the program I intended to be a part of, they told me that I should expand my horizons and look into other opportunities. According to them, I was setting the bar too low for myself. The conversation made me question everything I had planned out for my life. I spent the day crying, researching and trying to figure out what I wanted to do not only after graduation but for the rest of my life.

Eventually, I resolved to apply for a few more programs to give myself options in the future. I decided to look into other professions, and I am now considering getting a Ph.D. along with a law degree. My mother agreed with my professor that I shouldn’t commit to my plans so early on in life. Sometimes new opportunities or situations arise, and we have to adapt.

I still dread not knowing what the future holds. I love planning things out because they make me feel like I have a purpose and that I am making my way towards my goals. I still believe in planning, but I am learning that I should not pour my plans in cement. However, I didn’t throw away my blueprints completely. I still want to attend law school. I’m just exploring what I will do after that. In a way, it’s exciting to be on the cusp of new possibilities.

As we grow, we learn new things about ourselves, our talents and the possibilities for our lives. I shouldn’t have expected that my plans would stay the same. My dad used to tell me that time waits for no one, and he was right. It feels like just yesterday, I was graduating high school and excited for the next chapter of my life. Now, that chapter is coming to a close, and I am yet again about to flip the page into a new beginning. I remember being threatened at the possibilities of college. But when I see how much I have grown over the last three years, I have faith that my next chapter, and the ones that come after that, are going to work out the way they’re supposed to.