May 29, 2024

From one grad to another

Now is the time of graduation and change. High schools around the world are saying goodbye to their seniors and universities are sending more people off into the workforce. Creston’s graduation this Sunday will bring about the usual tears, hugs and celebration.

These graduates are filled with anxiety and excitement, looking to the changes heading toward them in the near future. Some of these graduates will be moving out of Creston for the first time. Some will be continuing their education, near or far, and will experience independence like never before. Meanwhile, others are jumping straight into adult life. I was in their shoes four years ago and see my younger sister going through this now. Graduating is scary. Graduating means change.

College graduation is similar in feeling. No longer will you see daily the friends and professors that have become family over the last four years. If you’re lucky, you have a job lined up for after graduation, no small feat after spending months searching. If you do have a job, it might be far away from where you call home. If you don’t, searching becomes your new full-time job.

Graduating can make you feel like the world is both ending and starting at the exact same time. That’s exactly how I felt last December. For the last 20 years, my job in life was to be a student. Sure, I’d been a part of extracurriculars and had part-time jobs, but my priority was always supposed to be school. Suddenly, I wasn’t going to have that in my life, and I didn’t know how to feel.

On top of that, I was about to move approximately 366 miles from home to a state I’d only ever driven through before. When graduating, people often end up moving away from their hometown. Some stay as close as possible, maybe only moving one or two towns over. Others want to get out of their normal life and find change, moving very, very far away.

I’m not sure I fit into either of these boxes. I’m certainly not just a town away, but I’m still able to drive home for the weekend if need be. I see both sides of this idea.

With all that being said, I’d like to offer some advice to the new graduates.

Put yourself out there. Yeah, I know, everyone says it, but it’s important. First impressions are vital. If you are heading to college, it is likely that there are a multitude of other new students. Everyone is in the same boat as you, looking to meet new people and start this next chapter of their life. If you wait a couple of weeks for the courage to talk to new people, everyone else will have already gotten into their groove with their people. Start this habit early on, as soon as you get there.

Now is the time to start good habits and get rid of bad ones. A new environment and a new schedule can be very helpful when trying to make change in yourself. Change begets change. I noticed how impactful this was when I went home the other weekend. Though only for two days, I forgot a number of important new habits I had started, including taking a lactaid pill before consuming dairy.

Don’t be afraid of failure. When trying something and somewhere new, you’re bound to mess up. Take these mistakes in stride and let them guide you to the correct path. Failing a test might lead you to a new study habit. Putting your Ikea furniture together incorrectly means you get to practice making it again before moving on to the next, more difficult item.

Finally, don’t forget where you came from. It can feel easy to leave everything behind, looking forward to becoming the person you’ve always dreamed of being. However, remember the people who got you there. Don’t forget the friends, family, teachers and coaches that pushed you to get where you are now.

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.