Five months ago, I posted a blog titled, “Graduating College Is Hard.” At that point in time, I had only just begun my postgraduate life, and I was having trouble adjusting. I wasn’t ready to accept that the “best four years of my life” were over. I wasn’t ready to leave my friends and my university in the slightest.
I don’t think there’s any way to fully prepare yourself for graduation. You talk about it for months and months like it’s something that’s never going to actually happen, so even as it’s happening, you’re in denial. In my case, I distinctly remember sitting at my graduation wondering what kind of crazy shenanigans my friends and I would be getting in later that night. That’s how surreal it really is; you forget that a fancy piece of paper means your undergraduate career is over.
It isn’t until you pack up everything you own that it starts to set in. I remember my dad picked me up, and as we drove past Beaver Stadium he asked me, “So how does it feel to be leaving for good this time?”
It wasn’t a question I was ready to answer. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t have a job lined up. I didn’t know when the next time would be that I would see my friends again. And even though I would be returning to State College for Arts Fest in roughly 2 months, the thought of leaving Penn State in that moment brought tears to my eyes.
Looking back at my blog dated May 23, 2016, I’m proud of where I am now. My post was filled with uncertainty and fears regarding my future. I stand by my original claim that graduating college is hard; however, it’s definitely much easier now than it was in May. Five months later, I’m working at a company that I love, meeting new people, and exploring everything that my new town has to offer. I’m still in touch with most of my closest friends from college, and I’ve seen many of them several times since graduating.
I’ve visited Penn State twice now, and I think that has given me the closure I needed. I’m now able to reflect on all of the good times I had without the feeling of “I wish I was still there right now.” The hardest thing for me was to accept that college was over, but once I was able to do that, I found myself focusing more on building my future rather than reliving my past.
There’s no denying the good times I had at Penn State, but college was amazing because of the people that I surrounded myself with while I was there. I love going back and visiting only when I know that my friends will also be there. Without them there, it feels like a piece of Penn State is missing, and that piece is the one that made me love it there so much.
I ended my blog with “Whether you believe it now or not, remember that the best is yet to come.” I remember writing that and thinking to myself, “How could this possibly be true?” I haven’t experienced a moment yet where I’ve thought to myself “I was so right” yet, but that’s okay, because I’m confident that I will as time passes.
Each day, I’m more and more grateful for where I am today. I have my entire life ahead of me, and while Penn State was a huge part of my journey, I will not allow it be the only noteworthy part.
Yes, graduating college is hard, but it’s only as hard as you make it on yourself.