Note: This column is a bit unconventional — I was several days past deadline and didn’t know how to express my feelings about graduation. So I decided to conduct an interview with myself to figure out why.
Q: So, graduation is approaching. How do you feel?
A: How do I feel about graduation? Still sort of in denial.
Q: Denial because you’re scared or because you’re going to miss college?
A: Partly because I’m going to miss it, but partly because I’m scared. I don’t feel ready to move on, so somewhere deep in my mind, I guess I’ve blocked out the realization that I’m graduating in order to prevent myself from feeling sad.
Q: What are you going to miss about college?
A: For one, I am going to miss being a student, which might sound strange. That’s all I’ve ever known, and it’s weird to not be that anymore. In terms of what else — well, overall my view of life this past year has been clouded by stress about the future, so it’s been hard to realize what I’ll miss. I kept feeling like I wanted this year to be over, but I didn’t want to graduate.
Q: What’s a lesson you learned from this year?
A: Sometimes you have to let go of things, even if it’s a difficult decision. That’s my problem, generally — it’s hard for me to say “no.” So the main lesson would be that it’s OK to walk away, to let go. Because sometimes staying can be just more detrimental.
Q: It must be hard then, because graduation is something that forces you to walk away at a set time.
A: Sort of. It’s easier to walk away when you know there’s something that’s coming next, and that’s why I’ve been so worried about graduation and getting a job. There’s nothing to look forward to. I’m worried about going backward.
Q: So a lack of forward progress is going backward?
A: I guess so. I know that’s not true, but right now it’s hard to think otherwise. But maybe that’s why the idea of choosing to travel after graduation, if I don’t have a job, doesn’t seem so bad. It’s almost comforting because it’s something different and new.
Q: What would you say if you heard someone else tell you that? That the lack of forward progress is going backward?
A: I would say, “What kind of thought is that?” A close friend told me before about how it’s dumb to think that everyone’s path should be linear — to think that life is always going to go straight up because that’s not how life works. You need to go up and down and back up again. But then, I just think, “What if I end up in the same place again?” I’ll be back where I started.
Q: Well, we’re talking about different directions, right? Even moving up and down, like on a graph, you’re never moving backward. So, really, it seems like you’re saying you know you’re moving forward — it’s just the fear of going downward.
A: I guess that’s true.
Q: Why is not having a job or a plan automatically moving downward? A plan isn’t up or down, right? It’s just a plan?
A: You see what everyone else is doing and feel like you have to do the same thing. Whether it’s influence from classmates or family, it just seems like having something lined up straight after college was the point of investing in these four years.
Q: But you’re graduating! That’s an accomplishment.
A: I guess because everything has always been planned out, from kindergarten to 12th grade and then college, I feel that now is my chance to forge my own path. But I’ve failed to do that because I haven’t been able to figure out my own life.
Q: What would you tell someone who said they’d failed when they didn’t get something that they tried for?
A: I would say what they tried for just weren’t the right things and that everything happens for a reason.
Q: Has that kind of faith helped you a lot before?
A: I used to think that way: that everything happens for a reason. But hoping for the right opportunity to arise hasn’t been working much for me recently. I feel like either something big and completely different is supposed to happen with my life, or nothing is going to happen and I’ll be stuck with this current situation. Maybe it’s time for me to try something new.
Q: What should I wish you luck on? Finding a job or getting over the guilt of not having found one yet?
A: Maybe I just need to come to the realization that I don’t have to worry so much about following the standard path or what everyone else is doing. Maybe I just need to embrace the uncertainty, and that’s when I’ll finally discover where I’m supposed to be.
Q: Sounds like a plan.
Alison Fu was the fall 2015 and spring 2016 online managing editor. She joined the Daily Cal in spring 2013 as a news reporter before becoming a news editor in spring 2014 and web producer in fall 2014 and spring 2015. She is graduating with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and business administration.