The pre-graduation crisis seems to be every young adult’s rite to adulthood
Waiting. It’s an odd pocket of time, isn’t it? From the silence in between switching elevator floors, the quiet before the car starts and, even now, as I stare in front of my laptop, a Google Doc open and head empty, waiting for the words to strike me.
We hate the awkward, silences. We play elevator music to drown out feelings of uneasiness, we turn the radio on as soon as the car starts, and we berate ourselves for not coming up with ideas quicker than our minds will let us in unfamiliar social situations. We step into the black hole called social media whenever we feel stuck: in line, in traffic, in a rut.
Waiting makes us uncomfortable, and we do our best to relieve ourselves.
It’s always been about Point A and Point B, but rarely do we ever talk about the line connecting these two. For most people in the same stage as me, Point A is studying in college, and Point B is graduation.
There are only a few notable turning points in our lives: graduating high school, graduating college, getting our first stable job, getting married, having kids and, honestly, who knows what happens after that? Being a senior in college is quite different from what I imagined. Instead of enjoying well-earned authority that comes from our stay in university, I find myself preparing for square one again.
We cycle through our college “lasts:” our last term, last enlistment, last exam, last presentation, last final, last submission and last class. We find ourselves in a period of waiting before the grand finale: graduation.
So we’re in the line that leads to Point B, teetering on the edge as we wait for the drop—knowing what we signed up for but, at the same time, unknowing what’s to come next. We’re scared, and we don’t know what to expect.
Discomfort shows up, dressed as anxiety. The questions, and having no answers, haunt us: What do I want to do? What kind of life do I want? Can I do what I want to do? Will I be able to live the life that I want?
Will I make it out in the real world?
Suddenly, our dreams are farther than ever from our reach. They are pulled away and pulled apart; we stray from what we know to level with others. It isn’t enough to wait. We can’t wait. We have to do something.
So we resort to the equivalent of elevator music. We hunt for jobs, we mingle with people, we subvert the questions “so what are you doing after college?” all while ignoring the uneasiness in our gut. Everybody seems to be doing something, so why aren’t we doing the same?
Life brings us from one event to another, and we spend the in-betweens anticipating the next thing to fixate on. Instead of framing uneventful, awkward and thus uncomfortable phases of life as boring, when you really think about it…it’s peaceful. It’s a period of rest, and yes, rest counts as preparation. Just how we experience each turning point, each waiting period that happens beforehand is just as unique.
Is ambiguity not possible? Like Yukihira Soma in Food Wars leaving his comfort zone, Yukihira’s Diner, we’re nearing our time to face the music and pave the path ahead for us. Everything, really, is only the beginning.
Now we ask all these questions, and soon it will be time for us to provide the answers. As we push forward, we learn more about ourselves: surpassing everything we once were, and expanding our horizons. We’ll finally see for ourselves how far we can go.
We’re nearing the end of this phase of our lives—this is our deep breath. The world lies ahead, waiting for us to prove ourselves.
Words Gwyneth King
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver