It’s that time of year here at the university when students are (a) excited about getting close to graduating, (b) dreading/fearing graduation or (c) both. What I can’t quite figure out is why anyone would dread or fear graduation. Maybe it was because I didn’t enjoy college. That is, I didn’t enjoy the institution. I enjoyed the learning, but that certainly didn’t stop when I left.
I’m hypothesizing that students who fear/dread graduating fall into one of several categories:
1) They are party animals and don’t want the party to stop.
2) They are comforted by the cocoon of their group of friends, sorority/fraternity, sheltered microcosm of college in general. The idea of going out in the big, bad world all alone is terrifying.
3) They have no idea what the real world is about and they don’t want to think about it.
The folks in Category #3 are the ones rushing to my office to talk about “graduate school” – a way to extend the college experience so they don’t have to go out into the real world. And here’s what I tell them…
If you want to go to graduate school, don’t go now and don’t go here. Go get some work experience before you go further in debt (or better yet, wait until you can afford to pay for grad school) so you can be sure you are getting your graduate degree in the right field. And don’t go here especially if you want to get your master’s degree in the same field as your undergrad (or think you do). Go somewhere else where you can learn from different people who have different experiences or perspectives.
The Category #2 folks are the ones that just need to be pushed out of the nest and learn to fly the hard way. Sink or swim, baby! Oh, mixing animal metaphors there. Oh, well. Swimming birds, flying fish, whatever.
And for Category #1 folks, all I can say is “Grow up, dude.” (Or dudette). It’s time.
The Real World is awesome. Really. Sure, there’s an adjustment period, but it is awesome. Trust me.
Carpe the Real World.