There are many things that are terrifying about the home stretch in college.The last few weeks, the last few lectures and for most people, the toughest assignments and exams all leading up to that little piece of paper that verifies you graduated.
One of the hardest things to come to terms with is that the security blanket of education will shortly be taken away, and only the big bad world awaits.
No lecturers correcting our work, no more lessons to learn, no more comfort in the knowledge it’s ‘only an assignment’. Everything that happens next isn’t preparation anymore, it’s real life.
For the last few years there has always been something else planned, some next stage to naturally progress to, because that’s what everyone - or at least most people - do after secondary school.
Up to this point life has been structured and planned but now it’s up to me to figure out where I go from here, and I definitely don’t have a road map.
Now everyone is heading down different paths, some people into jobs, some people are moving away, some are going travelling or emigrating. For everyone my age; life is changing.
It’s like in college you’re pretending to have all of your stuff together. You’re bumbling along doing a bit, with some responsibility, but now it’s different, now you’re fully in charge and now you’re supposed to be a grown-up.
I won’t lie, I am absolutely terrified about the future. What if I never get a good job? What if I have to move back in with my parents and I never have my own place. What if I end up like Lisa in that episode of The Simpsons where she can’t move off the couch and her kids are poking her with a stick? These are legitimate worries.
When I tell people I’m in final year I get either of two responses; the old women that used to know my Mam when I was a baby coo and say “God, you’re not that old are you? When did that happen?”
Or I hear a sharp intake of breath, “final year, really?” they say, and give me that look that tells me I have no idea what I’m letting myself in for. Neither of which make me feel eternally optimistic about the future.
Yes I am aware of my age, and yes, I am also aware of the fact that I have no idea what awaits me in September, unlike every other year of my life since play-school. Cheers for the helpful stating of the obvious, I really needed that just now.
Some people are lucky, they may leave college with a job already secured, or at least with the potential of a job after placement. But for the rest of us, our first introduction to the real world is far less planned, and far less certain.
As most final year students blindly stumble through this transition period in their lives I don’t feel as bad knowing that so many other people are just as confused about what to do next as I am.
At the end of the day, you have to leave college sometime. You have to become a contributing member of society that worries about insurance, getting a mortgage and god forbid: the water tax.
Although I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for it, maybe the future will bring more excitement and opportunity for all of us. Here’s hoping anyway.