There are some students who enrolled at Drexel with an exact idea of what they wanted to do and who they wanted to be when they received their diplomas. There are many students who entered with only a vague inkling of their calling, one that they hoped to solidify in their four (or five) years of education.
And this time of year, with grad school applications going live and commencement three quarters away for rising seniors, students from both groups — “mind made up since day one” and “reluctantly ambivalent” — are starting to a feel a little nauseous.
For those nearing the metaphorical finish line, August is more than just the end of summer. It’s the transitional period where their post-college future starts to change from a shapeless mass into an inevitable reality. Whether it’s from submitting med school essays, sending GRE scores, applying for graduation or just scouting for jobs, now is the time where it starts to feel real. And that’s an incredibly exciting feeling — but it’s also terrifying. Like, cold-sweats-in-summer terrifying.
Say you’re in the first set of kids, the ones who had their futures planned out since forever. Now that those futures are coming into view, you’re forced to consider the possibility that your one perfect plan might not come to fruition. Not because you’re not good enough, but because sometimes things happen that you can’t anticipate.
And then there’s the kids on the other side of the aisle, the ones pulled in seven different directions, who have to make a decision about their career. They’ll do it because they have to, but there’s a part of them that will continue to question their choice. Nails get bitten to nubs. Pro/con lists get scrawled onto whiteboards. People get scared.
So much so that they forget how much they have to be proud of.
Maybe you don’t know what the hell you want to do with your life, or you know exactly what you want but you’re only 37 percent sure you can get there. We can’t say it doesn’t matter, because it does, but there’s something that matters more — the fact that you’re here to begin with.
You went to college, you studied, you dodged speeding cars on Lancaster Walk, and you survived. Maybe you tore out half your hair in the process (minor details) — but you kept going, even when everything felt stupid and hard. And when you get your diploma, you’ll be holding something in your hand that not everybody has — and you’ll be holding it because you deserve to.
Come June, all our seniors will step off the graduation stage and into the world, like everyone before them, to try to make at least a little mark on a very big world. If that sentence had you reaching for the Pepto Bismol on your nightstand, that’s okay.
New stuff is scary.
In the next ten months, go ahead and brace yourself for it. And every time you feel yourself overcome with the pressure of having to prove yourself, just try to remember that you already have.