I’m graduating, but I’ve got my memories

Nick Harvey and Nick Harvey

In less than a month, I will be a college graduate and thus dragged kicking and screaming into the “real world.” Most people I know are excited to graduate and pursue the career of their dreams. I was never really sure how I felt about graduating until I started to pack up my apartment just before Thanksgiving break. While I was loading up my car, I began to compare my college career to what the real world will be like.

I collected the old paycheck stubs on my desk and threw them into a box. Mopping up spilled drinks and providing quick and courteous customer service isn’t something I have particularly enjoyed. Recently, a customer asked me if we sold Sprite that wasn’t lemon-lime flavored. I felt a tingle in my brain as if a customer-induced tumor was forming. I told him we, along with the rest of the world, don’t carry any variety of non-lemon-lime Sprite.

I have a feeling after I leave Bowling Green things won’t change much. I am all for the pursuit of a dream job but there aren’t many of those available on Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com these days. After examining the job market, I have realized there are only a few jobs for which I fill the requirements. The jobs I am qualified for have the appeal of being a full-time stamp licker.

There are bills from John Newlove, the City of Bowling Green and Time Warner on my desk too. After paying the bills each month, I can afford just enough food to keep me alive and enough alcohol to keep me sane. Once I finally find a career, chances are there still won’t be much extra money. At the end of the month, it will be time to pay for the cell phone, cable, gas, electric, water, rent, student loans, car payments and insurance of all varieties. The jobs I have looked at so far don’t seem to offer good health insurance benefits which spells bad news for this 22-year-old diabetic. If I have to buy health insurance on my own, that will add another couple hundred bucks to my pile of bills.

I throw pictures of me and my friends into the same box. Pictures of parties, beer pong, hanging out on campus and playing flag football. All pictures of friends I don’t get to hang out with enough. Conflicting schedules and work assure whenever I am free they are busy. After graduation it will be the same situation except with the added obstacles of a longer work schedule and a long distance commute. College life was looking a lot like post-college life.

The next thing I found changed my mind. It was a bunch of old binders full of class notes in a milk crate. Hundreds of pages of words that went in my ear and out my fingers. At some point, I reabsorbed those words, wrung them out onto a test and forgot them. They were just a few of thousands I soaked up at some point between preschool and college graduation.

Through all those years, I have been told about World War II, geometry and not picking my nose. Now that I am finally graduating, it is officially the end of being dictated to. No more classes I have to take or GPA requirements to reach before moving on in life. Even if I end up deciding to be a full-time stamp licker, at least it is a choice I will make without anyone telling me to do it first.

When I came to Bowling Green, I was asked what I wanted to do for a career. Instead of making a decision, I should have asked what could I find a job doing. After four years of aspiring to work for NASA or Adult Swim, I realize I should have been more practical.

After I graduate, I will finally become completely independent, at the expense of being broke and away from nearly all my friends. However, when I graduate, I will keep in mind that many of the aspects of my post-graduation future will be similar to those of a good steak. Finding a dream job will be rare and bills will be expensive but at least the memories of good friendships will clog my heart for years…