I Didn't Plan for Failure

Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar bills concept for the cost of a college and university education
Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar bills concept for the cost of a college and university education

In less than forty hours I graduate college.

After my dreams of landing at Harvard or Juilliard fizzled out by fifth grade, I began to quickly and dramatically disengage from school. Due to disinterest and inescapable bullying--school was the last thing I wanted to think about. I failed three classes, and graduated with a terrible GPA, but by some deus-ex machina I landed at a four-year college.

In less than forty hours I graduate college.

I knew that I could reinvent myself as an undergrad. As a first-generation student, I was intimidated but surrounded by a new environment entirely. With a few missteps my freshman year, I got the highest GPA I ever had--not that I ever kept track--a 3.8 and was guided along the way by an incredible support system that included my RA, Peer Advisor (PA), and professors. I was soon recommended to become a PA, which was a mentoring opportunity I excitedly looked to and soon was on a track for student leadership and professional development.

But now, in less than forty hours I graduate college.

I had seven internships, met some of my biggest role-models, won awards that I stood in awe at my freshman year and will graduate summa cum laude. I became the kind of student who would make my high school self nauseous.

But here we are, and in less than forty hours I graduate college. Hell--I've been a PA, tour guide, college blogger, and an editor of a student newsroom and words can't even begin to communicate these rush of emotions. During senior week--traditionally filled with power hours and fuzzy memories--I check my email every fifteen minutes despite already having push notifications and spend more time looking at job boards than talking to my roommates.

Rather than trying to piece together some semblance of advice or wisdom, I'll share the questions, comments, and critiques that have been become a ubiquitous presence in my mind.

"It's been such a long time since we've talked, you haven't told me what you're doing after graduation yet?"

"You're the last person I expected to not have a job."

"If anyone can do it, you can."

"I just can't believe that one of your internships didn't hire you."

"But you can just call your old boss and start whenever I bet."

"No but please tell me about you, I'm sure you got this really cool job."

"If there's one person who I'm not worried about, it's you."

"You know, I'm really surprised you're having a meeting with me, by now I thought you of all people would have found something."

"It's important to not just take the first job you get."

"In the meanwhile you should secure something and stay with it until you find something you love."

"You can't just move across the country in hopes of finding a job."

"If you just sit home do you think you'll actually look for a job?"

"Have you even started looking?"

"You know it's not that easy to just find a job?"

"Why don't you call and follow up with them?"

"Most people don't have a job when they graduate."

"You just have higher standards than everyone else."

"People would kill to hire you."

"Don't worry, I didn't have a job until September."

"Your savings will run out if you don't start working pretty soon."

"Why didn't you just go to grad school?"

"The stupidest thing you could do is go to grad school if nobody else is paying for it."

"You should just go home and take a job that'll pay the bills."

"You made all these connections, it would be stupid to not take advantage of them."

I spent the last four years planning what my next step was, planning where my next internship would be, planning what countries I would visit abroad, but in less than forty hours I graduate college. I never planned for failure, I never planned to let myself down--and I'm not really sure I could have.