How it feels to be graduating from college
by Vett Vandiver
People won't stop asking. So I can't stop thinking about it. And of course had to write about it.
"How does it feel to be graduating?!" Most people ask with a huge genuine smile on their face (probably thinking back to their personal graduation experience). And then others have a Joker smile, like they know something about the real world that we don't find out until we walk across the stage at graduation.
I'm currently feeling more emotions than they have names for. What do you call [anxious for life after graduation + grateful that I never have to register for classes again + already missing my friends + curious about other Starbucks locations off-campus + already freaking out about my next next step]? Exactly...not in the dictionary, nor on Google (I tried).
Tech has been the white and gold-laced bubble I've lived in and fallen in love with over the past four years. It's perfect for those who appreciate it.
Besides the actual campus, I will miss the feeling of unity that everyone on campus creates just by being Tech students. That feeling that "we're all in this together," and "we'll all get out eventually." That feeling of sending an email at 3:30am, but feeling completely normal because we get a response five minutes later from someone else having a similar night. That feeling of craving Waffle House on a Wednesday night after chapter and it being socially acceptable to have a second dinner. That feeling of accomplishment when we somehow submit an assignment on time after a week full of meetings, lacking in sleep, and pouring over with coffee.
I'm going to miss that feeling.
As we all go off to graduate, some of the things that were not only acceptable in college (but encouraged and expected) will no longer be normal. People will text the GroupMe less often and gatherings that used to just require a walk down the street will now require a plane ticket, a security check, and a flight. Maintaining friendships will take actual effort because once we graduate, we will no longer share the same home, the same base. There will be no more "coming back to campus after break." Campus will no longer be our home, but a home that once was ours...
And that frightens me the most.
Before you stop reading and start crying, hold the Kleenex! Graduation is a magnificent and thrilling moment in life that not everyone experiences. We've all worked so hard for our personal goals and future dreams. I've fallen in love with the dreams of my best friends just as much as I've fallen in love with mine. I get so excited hearing the extremely diverse future plans of my friends with all different majors. People are going to California, New York, South America, China, and some are staying here in Atlanta like me. People are getting engaged, getting married, having children, buying houses, and some are not even thinking of the previously mentioned (like me).
Yes, these four years have been absolutely and insanely fantastic. But think of our known plans and unknown plans, and believe that the best years are ahead of us.
This feeling of knowing that life goes on after graduation...there are more things to experience...even better things...that thrills me.
We're young. Elementary, middle, and high school - we did that. College...we've done that. Although our plans may not be drawn out and colored in...they will come together. We'll all end up where we're supposed to.
Some of the people who think they have it all figured out are often the most lost. And of course, not all who wander are lost. We applied to Tech with plans, dreams, hopes for opportunities, and determination. It only makes sense that we leave with the same mindset. I'm leaving Tech feeling accomplished, not just in the academic sense, but in the personal sense of accomplishment.
I'm a different person than the Vett who applied years ago. Yet, I feel like I'm the person I should be at this point in my life. And that makes me grateful.
We can feel however we want about graduating as long as we come to the realization that it's coming...it's here. This chapter of our lives has happened, and hopefully it's been incredibly monumental - full of ups and downs.
College has shown me that I can do anything, regardless of my original plans. I can create my own path, even if there are currently trees in the way. We can change our minds and our plans. It's the undying sense of possibility that makes the transitional periods of life so beautiful.
Every ending is another beginning. And we won't be able to completely enjoy the next chapter of life if we're still stuck on this one.
How does it feel to be graduating from college? For me, it's a feeling that only I understand because only I have my personal experiences that will make the close of this chapter so special and the perfect conglomeration of emotions. When the tears come down my face on graduation day (and I'm sure they will), they won't be tears of sadness nor of happiness. They'll be tears of realization that the past four years have really happened.
Congratulations, Class of 2013. We did it...we're doing it.
Vett is a fourth year senior graduating from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture and minor in Spanish.