Most students would agree that graduating is bitter sweet. If you don’t agree right now, it’s probably because you’re not close enough to graduating to realize it. When the time comes, you will remember those four years (sometimes more) you have spent at this school, the countless late night hours at the library, the copious amounts of caffeine consumed daily, and the deep friendships and unforgettable memories you have created here.
Soon you will finish all your exams and papers and the next thing you know, you will be at the graduation ceremony in that awkwardly fitting hat, crying your eyes out with tears of relief, joy, and sadness. Personally, I know I will be crying this December because of all of these emotions. I could never express how grateful I am to the professors that have helped me these years, the countless hours my advisor has dedicated to me, and the friends that have stuck with me while I was a hermit studying for exams or writing papers every weekend. I cannot stress enough to younger students the importance of forming strong relationships with your professors and peers in these years; they all have such unique things to teach you.
But as you finish off your final semesters, remember that it is not really over at all. Now you have to find a job, which I hear is not so easy these days unless you’re content working fast food or retail for the unforeseeable future. If you don’t plan on going into your career immediately after graduating, you are probably looking into furthering your education at the graduate level, which comes with its ups and downs in itself. This is the route I have decided to take. If applying to graduate school is any indication of what actual grad school is like, my friends and I are in for a rough time. Applying to each school is around one hundred dollars with the combination of application fees and sending your GRE scores to the university. Oh yeah, and the GRE’s themselves cost around two hundred dollars. And did I mention that all of the application essays, letters of recommendation, and other various forms all need to be done while you are simultaneously trying to do all of your school work to graduate at the undergraduate level? The deadlines approach faster than you would think, some as early as Dec. 10th.
My intention is not to scare anyone away from applying to graduate school; I simply wish to inform students of the time consuming process that is in store for them if they have no yet begun the journey. No one warned me of the endless frustration and anxiety of furthering your education and I think it is something that our university should stress more to students. Often we are discouraged from going on for a master’s degree because of the high level of competition, but I think that students should be prepared for what is in store for them if they decide to go to graduate school. It takes a lot of personal dedication, hard work, and support from your professors and other mentors, but I would argue that it is completely worth it in the pursuit of your dreams.