Friday, June 26, 2009

Congratulations...Now Leave

In fifth grade, my teacher told us that we had to think of being a student as a job, just like being a lawyer or a doctor.  I took that advice to heart.  It seems as though all I've ever worked for is to go to the college of my choice, and study the way I want to study.  I worked hard in high school, and was accepted to my first choice: Sarah Lawrence.  I moved all the necessities of life (i.e. all my DVDs) up to New York and spent the next four years writing, reading, and being a very contented college student.  I even spent a semester abroad in Prague and got in touch with my Czech side.  

And then, the dreaded day came, when my work was done.  I had turned in my last conference paper, attended my last class.  It was time to graduate, and Sarah Lawrence shutting it's gates on me.  It seemed rather harsh that after four years of personalized and thoughtful education, I should be forced to vacate my beloved dorm room and leave campus mere hours after commencement.  

Other than the stress of making four years' worth of accumulated stuff fit into boxes to be stuffed into an SUV, there was the sudden realization that I did not know where I was headed.  I knew generally the things I was hoping to be paid to do, but I had never had a particular career path in mind.  I loved words and popular culture, but mostly I loved being in school.  My perfect job would most likely consist of doing the things I did at Sarah Lawrence, but instead of paying $50,000 a year for the privilege, earning a livable salary and some benefits.  

For me, life after graduation is a great expanse of everything and nothing at the same time.  It is full of decisions to be made, but only one choice to be had.  Find a job, make some money, make your way through the 'real world' with your head down and your mouth shut.  Send out your resume and cover letter, with the same insincere 'Sincerely,' at the bottom and the hope of finding something halfway interesting that isn't unpaid.  I've waded through the mucky expanse for nearly a month now, and am only just getting used to the fact that I am no longer what I once was, what I have been since I was six: a student.