My college career ends in a few weeks, on Saturday May 9th around 5:30 p.m. In June I’ll travel to Iowa to serve as an Americorps VISTA for a year in a human rights department. I’m excited to use my skills and work to make society a better one.
But I’m also really sad.
Graduation almost feels like a death. College is over and it feels like nothing good can come from that. I’m sad to have to say goodbye to my friends, some who I’ve known for four years, others I’ve known for a decade. I’m sure many who are graduating high school might feel the same way. The world is scary. It’s mean and it will not show you mercy much of the time. But the world is also full of goodness and kindness.
Graduation is not the end. Graduation is the beginning and while it is terrifying, it is also very special.
It is important to recognize that it is okay to feel sad. It’s okay to feel these negative emotions about such a drastic change. Whether it’s high school or college, you made your life there. The unknown is scary. But it’s going to be okay. You might lose contact with some of your best friends, or you might talk to them every day. All of this is okay.
What is key to these drastic life changes is to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. Bring a stuffed animal from your childhood to your dorm with you. Bring pictures, videos, and whatever you want to hold onto when you feel the need to connect to your past. One thing I did early this year that I am so happy I did was I went a local pottery studio and painted a plate with my university’s logo and colors. Although it’s just a small token, it holds onto the memories.
And when you feel the sting of loneliness, remember that there are people who care and love you…whether you are the next room away from them, or several hours. I remember when I was little and my mom would read to me a book called, The Kissing Hand. Everyone you ever loved is always with you. Even if you are alone, they are there in your memories and in your heart.
Whether you are about to set out for college or into the workforce. It is okay to feel scared and lonely. It will get better. It doesn’t end here.