For what it’s worth

This will be the last column I write while in college. Wow. It felt strange to type that. Over the past 30-or-so weeks, I’ve written about my experiences during my last year at Lake Forest College. Time’s up. As of this writing, graduation is only days away. And when I boil down all of the feelings and thoughts running through my mind, basically, two remain – confusion and frustration.

The two biggest sources of confusion during the voyage through adulthood are the questions: “Who am I?” and “Where am I going?” Personally, these past four years certainly have helped answer the former but, paradoxically, have fueled the drive to answer the latter. In my quest to define my niche in this community and discern who I am, I’ve somewhat ignored the fact that there is a direction missing in my life.

Four years have taught me how to be a better person, how to be a hard worker, how to optimize my time. My time at Lake Forest has helped me narrow down the list of what I do and do not want in life. I know I want to write. I know I want to tell stories. My time and experience and dedication to The Stentor have honed those skills to a reasonably serviceable level. But at the end of the day (or four years), what does it say when all my accomplishments amount to me moving back to my parents’ house?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful to have a welcoming place after graduation. But by ending up where I started four years ago, I feel like all that I’ve taken away from college is a piece of paper with my name and a major on it.

I know it sounds like I’m whining and complaining, and I am. Luckily I’m not alone: many of my classmates feel the same as I do. We’re frustrated. What does it say when I try to be the best person I can, work the hardest I’m able, yet it’s so hard to land an entry-level job doing something I enjoy?

Never in life will so many possibilities rest on my shoulders. Never will I have to make so many choices in so little time. As I watch my classmates start lives as new employees or future students at graduate schools, I can’t help but feel like I’m treading water. It’s frustrating because I want to make those choices. I want to start my life. But the decision is not entirely mine. It’s the job market’s. It’s the economy’s. It’s my parents when they decide to kick me out of the house.

The best course of action for me is the one I’ve prescribed several times before – to wait things out. The night is always darkest before the dawn. And, for what it’s worth, I would suggest the same for anyone who is similarly confused and frustrated. I’ll let you know if anything comes my way.

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