From the moment my parents dropped me off in front of Palmetto North Building 158-2 Room A fall 2001, my motto has been, “I cannot wait until graduation.”
Yet today I stand before you with this decree: Hello. My name is Sheryl and I am a chronic learner.
Many of you may be wondering what I mean by this. But as a senior with graduation just around the corner, it just seems easier to stay in college forever than to move on to the next phase in life. Some of you may call it cold feet. I call it Chronic Learning Deficit.
As graduation draws near, the invitations are all mailed out and gifts begin to arrive in the mail, your parents will ask you the dreaded question: What are you going to do after you graduate?
If you have a job lined up or have decided to further your education, this question is a piece of cake. If you are like me and have no particular plans; however, you may have a problem.
At first I thought, is it just me? Am I the only FAMU graduate that feels content moving back home and eating cocoa puffs on my parents’ couch? But then I spoke with a few Fall 2004 graduates and they really eased a lot of my fears.
I am convinced that a lot of times people come to college with the sole intent to graduate. But when graduation approaches, they freeze up.
Graduation represents adulthood, for real. No more using the excuse ‘well I am in college so if not now, when?’ No more calling home to your parents asking for money because you spent it all on those Usher tickets and a new outfit. No more sitting on the Set because, that’s just what FAMU students do on Fridays. Once you cross the stage, you are shoved into the real world and are expected to be productive citizens.
At first, adjusting to life outside of the University will be tough, but FAMU has taught us to be tougher. When you feel you cannot deal with your new boss, remember all of those professors that were just absolutely impossible to handle. When you feel some board meeting is just too long, think of all those forums that SBI made you sit through. And if you cannot seem to grasp why your first check has not arrived yet, remember you have stood in the financial aid line for the better part of your day many semesters.
Graduation is nothing to fear, it is actually a joyous occasion that you should remember for a lifetime. It is only natural to be a little apprehensive about leaving behind something that you’re so accustomed to. But how will you ever reach your full potential if you are to afraid to try something new?
And if that does not get my point across, just remember, being a 10th-year senior who is only three credit hours away from graduating is not cool. Actually, it is pretty sad.
So, as sad or scary as it may seem, join me as I say goodbye to FAMU. Once we walk across the stage, take our last pictures, exchange phone numbers and hug for the last time, remember this is only the beginning. And just think, if this adulthood thing doesn’t work out, we can always come home to FAMU and get another degree. Somehow, though, I doubt we will hardly miss the studying.
Sheryl Patterson is a senior political science student from Tallahassee. She can be reached at email@example.com.