There is a point in every life when childhood ends, where you are considered mature enough to handle things for yourself. That’s good and bad of course. The good is you run your own show, without answering to a soul. The bad is that you run your own show, so everything is your responsibility or your fault for forgetting.
It’s a hard lesson. A daunting idea.
I recall being a senior in college and being terrified at the prospect of graduation. I felt unprepared and had (too late) realized how good I had it as a college student. That time of your life, for those lucky enough to get it, is priceless. You spread your wings. Open your mind. Become something different from when you started. I would not trade those four years for anything, and have worked hard to be sure my children get that same experience.
The unease at impending reality is a feeling that’s alive and well in a few college seniors facing tradition this year. It’s a shock to realize there will be no more spring breaks and summer’s off, internships will end and things will move on. Preparation for adulthood is at an end. You will now join the working world, with all its privileges and pitfalls.
You’ll be well paid, but you’ll have weekends (hopefully) and two weeks a year to yourself.
The rest of your life stretches before you. Hopefully you’ve chosen a major that gives you some marketability in the work world while also being something you genuinely like to do. If you don’t, those next 45 years are going to be awfully long for you. And yes, it will be 45 years based on today’s retirement age.
The best piece of advice I can give those facing this first hard bite of reality is this. Never stop learning. Work hard, as your capacity for this is the best it will ever be. Make your mark wherever you end up.
Oh, and get ready for the best years of your life.