When I started university it felt like graduation was something that although it was what I was striving for, it would probably never happen. And over the course of my four years in university, it still felt like something that would probably never happen.
And now, midway through the third to last week of my last semester of my degree, I still feel like it’s something that will probably never happen.
Maybe it’s a fear of change — not being able to grasp that the thing I’ve spent the last four years of my life pursuing might actually be happening (or just nerves) — but I feel like something is going to go wrong.
Last week I completed a grad check with academic advising where I was told that after completing this semester I’ll meet all the requirements to graduate, and this week I officially applied for graduation — but I have this hunch that I’m going to forget to hand in an assignment and unexpectedly fail a class, or that despite what my academic advisor says there’s some breadth requirement that I missed, or that UFV will somehow be shut down sometime in the next three weeks and I won’t be able to finish the semester.
Part of the anxiety that’s growing as I approach graduation may be because I have honestly no idea where I’m going from here. Last week the plan was to take off and teach English in Peru, this week it’s changed to try to find some sort of job close to a beach in Greece (if that’s even a possibility right now), but practically speaking, it’ll probably be working a job somewhere in B.C. and sticking it out until I actually have enough in my savings, or at the very least a plan, to make the first two more achievable.
Or, the anxiety could be because I honestly never really thought it would happen. There were more than a comfortable amount of times that I debated not returning for the next semester, several times where I left B.C. during the summer and almost never came home because wherever I was seemed so much better than going back to classes, and one time where I almost packed up over the winter break and moved to Fernie for a change of mountains, and a job that I didn’t end up getting.
While all those things never happened and somehow I actually made it this far, it’s much more daunting than I thought it would be, even though I’ve spent the last four years of my life waiting for the day when I would never have to return to this school again. I can’t wait to not have to worry about getting my socks wet every time I attempt to trek my way across the swamp outside of the Student Union Building. Or having to park way down at the end of Gillis Ave because if you show up anytime after 9:00 a.m. on any weekday except Friday it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’re not going to find a parking spot. Or having a late class that goes until after 6:30 p.m. and having the only place to get a coffee be Tim Hortons. Unfortunately, right now, all of this still isn’t enough to take away the slightly overwhelming and a little bit intimidating feeling that comes with knowing that the next three weeks of classes are my last.
The frustrating part is that nearly every single person that I’ve told that I’m graduating this semester has responded with some form of “and what are you doing then?” To which I have to respond with either some eloquent and mature-sounding response that, while socially acceptable makes me feel sicker than the thought of not having a plan at all, or, and this option is usually only saved for fellow students that are among the few that understand the stress, I say that I just really don’t know.
Because I really, really don’t.