The future is sooner than we think
By Amanda Hickey
Every fall, I come back to Pembroke and realize things about the campus, my friends, my life in general. Each fall is an entirely new revelation.
This fall, I realized that this is my last year as a student. This time next year, I will, hopefully, be working at a newspaper full time. I will be living on my own, paying my own bills and working just to make it every month.
Decisions to make
But before then, I have a variety of decisions to make.
I have to decide where I want to work. Do I want to move home, or do I want to move somewhere else? Virginia? South Carolina? Massachusetts? There are so many options for recent graduates.
Then I have to find someplace where I want to live that also has a job for which I have a chance of being hired. That part is going to be hard, I think.
I realize that not only is graduation the start of something new, it is also a time to leave some things behind.
Homecomings, games and dances will be behind me. The on-campus living experience will be behind me. I won’t be worried about who my roommate is going to be, nor am I going to be worried about how many meals I have left on my meal plan.
Instead, I’ll be living life as a grown up. Two words that scare me more than any natural disaster, serial killer or disease. Grown up. What will that life be like?
I’m 21. I have bills that I pay on time every month. I have worked for six years, four of which have been at the same job. Working won’t be a new experience for me. Working a full-time job, with responsibilities that I have never had before, will be a new experience. One that I am nervous about.
May seems a long time from now, but with how fast each semester goes by it’ll be here before we know it.
Soon, fall will turn into winter and winter will turn into spring. With each season, seniors come closer to walking across the graduation stage.
In December, graduates will prepare to walk from UNCP to the “real world.”
Some of these graduates will be in their early 20s, embarking on life on their own for the first time. Others will be mothers and fathers completing a degree they began earlier in life or earning a second degree. Others will be students who didn’t have a chance earlier in life to get a degree.
All, no matter their age or experience, will be starting their lives over and improving them in some way.
That is what I look forward to: starting over.
I cannot wait to walk off this campus and into a place where no one knows anything about the life I’ve lived prior to arriving. I cannot wait to be judged on my abilities rather than my social life.
That, for me, is what graduating from UNCP is all about: an opportunity to start life all over again, with a degree that will benefit you for the rest of your life.