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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Like many young people, I have been a student for the majority of my life. Ever since starting preschool daycare as a child, I have consistently been enrolled in some form of education. Even if the workload wasn’t totally constant, with the summer acting as a much-needed gap in between school years, there was always some form of planning for my academic future. Whether it was shifting from middle to high school, or the much more intense switch over to being a college student, teachers and their accompanying assignments have remained a reliable, if slightly irritating, constant. It hit me recently that this is all about to change. As a current senior in my final semester of college, graduation is happening only months down the line. I have mixed feelings about this. Yes, the attainment of a bachelor’s degree is definitely exciting and something worthy of being celebrated. And yet, I’m going to finally be entering the “real world.” No one will be assigning me busy work or certain chapters of a certain book to read. I won’t have discussion board posts to worry about keeping track of or a class schedule to keep me on my toes. In my current state, that actually sounds really nice, as my professors have already gifted me quite a substantial workload. However, I’m also terrified that branching out from being a student, something known and familiar as it is frustrating, will not go smoothly. 

My feelings of worry are also accompanied by an intense case of senioritis, a disease I find only slightly behind COVID in relevance. I am an interesting combo of nervous to lose my schooling as well as incredibly done with Zoom classes and Canvas. I do my work because it would damage my GPA otherwise, but there’s almost nothing in me that really wants to. And so, I’ve been trying my best to stay positive about not only graduation but the unknown that will follow. Here are some quick things that have been on my mind when it comes to finally leaving my student self behind. 

For one, my graduating peers and I will no longer have to deal with homework. This isn’t to say that all homework is a waste of time but I’ve also found a large portion of it to be busywork. There’s nothing more infuriating than having a lot to do and yet being forced to sit and complete something time-consuming and just slightly stupid. I acknowledge the importance of getting to know one’s peers but sitting down at my desk and spending an inordinate amount of time typing out what my favorite past time as an icebreaker (that I guarantee no one did or will read, including the professor), made me feel just the tiniest bit shy of homicidal. With other things to occupy my time, such as working two jobs, making money, or spending time with loved ones, writing yet another essay on the meaning of some nondescript poem doesn’t always feel the most worthwhile. 

I’m also excited to finally escape from the grasp DegreeWorks has had on me over the past few years. In order to graduate with a bachelor’s or any degree for that matter, you have to make sure to complete a specific curriculum and criteria. DegreeWorks makes it easy to find what you have to do but doesn’t necessarily assist with how to do it. After graduating, not only will my life no longer be run by DegreeWorks, but I won’t even have access to it. This freedom of choice is both appealing as it is terrifying. I’m strangely worried I’ll somehow make a vastly wrong decision but I have trouble believing that will happen simply because I no longer have a computer program instructing me on which English course to take. I can dedicate myself to doing the things I find truly important. The only issue is, without the constant flow of work and structure that school has always given me, I’m not completely sure what that is. 

The ultimate goal after graduating college with a degree is to immediately find a “big girl job,” using that degree and making enough money to both be financially stable and independent. The chances of things going exactly to that plan are perhaps not as likely or easy as eight-year-old me would have dreamed. However, I also feel that once I am done with classes, it will be easier to focus not only on myself but also on the choices that I make in terms of my future career. Homework and trudging my way to 8 AMs will no longer be a time suck on what would otherwise be a (hopefully) successful job search. 

Overall, I’m starting to feel really ready to graduate from college. It is currently unknown if I or those around me will return to education in the future, and I know that some people are immediately making their way into graduate school. However, I would like to experience life as a non-student for at least a year before I make that choice. It’s nerve-wracking but also exciting to see my classwork slowly falling away to make room for more opportunities and if you or someone you’re close to is in a similar position, I wish us all the best and I’m sure that even if the adjustment isn’t easy, the lack of Canvas and constant Zoom meetings will be well worth it. 

Emma Ostenfeld is currently a Junior at Virginia Commonwealth University studying psychology. She is interested in creative (or any other form) of writing and has joined Her Campus in order to improve her skills and experience in this field. Originally from NOVA, she loves everything about living in Richmond Except that she had to leave her three cats at home and misses them dearly. She loves her friends but is enough of an introvert that alone time is a necessity for the sake of her mental health and the sanity of those around her. She is an extreme foodie and always appreciates any restaurant recommendations.
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