Al's a-Musing: Graduation jitters

Starting my final semester is a blissfully terrifying endeavor. I’ve talked incessantly about how ready I am to be done with school, to get on with my life.

As true as that may be, it’s a terrifying thing. I’ve been in college for a total of four years, longer than any other of my academic experiences other than elementary school. I’ve become familiar with the ins and outs Weber State. I know what to do to make money. I know what to do in order to get an A in a class, as well as how to scrape by with a C. In summation, I’m very comfortable here.

Odds are I’ve described some of the feelings of upperclassmen across campus. There’s a sense of security in college, almost as though people are expecting you to still be figuring your life out. From the people I’ve talked to who have shuffled off this academic coil (you know it’s bad when you’re quoting “Hamlet” in relation to graduation), they say life is good, but that they long for the days that found responsibility watered down, and answers were handed down from advisers sitting in cushioned chairs. As I relay my angst about feels like the purest exercise in Machiavellianism that is found in modern society, they smile with a sagacity that is all at once repulsive and alluring and reply simply, “You’ll figure it out.”

I once told a neighbor that I couldn’t imagine being any busier than I was at that time. He kindly chortled and told me to wait for a few years and remember this conversation. That was two years ago, when I was simply dating my future wife, working under 20 hours a week, and ironically postponing my general courses for a time that was less hectic. What a fool I was, to think that life would somehow slow down.

In all of this, I have gleaned an insight or two about the extracurricular life that inevitably lies ahead of all of us. While age doesn’t necessarily indicate wisdom, we should assume in most cases that it does. Regardless of whatever brilliant intellect we’ve garnered in our short stint upon the earth, odds are someone older than you has a similar intellect, coupled with more experience.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned stems from an analysis of my transitory periods thus far. Neal Donald Walsch, a spiritual speaker and philosopher, is credited as saying that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” When our current chapter in life is coming to a close, it serves us well to close with it.

We had a rule in our house that, once we were 12, we no longer went trick-or-treating. Naturally, I was a little peeved by the idea that my free candy haul would end, but I decided not to fight. In the years that followed, I became grateful that my trick-or-treating ended when it was still enjoyable. It didn’t hang on past its expiration date, and a trick-or-treat-less Halloween was to be explored.

Let us do the same with our collegiate experience. While frightening, our life begins just beyond our comfort zone. For me, that’s on the other end of a diploma.