Welcome to a series from Culture Shock, Be Younonymous. Here, anonymous members of the BU community contribute their stories from campus life and beyond under the condition of complete secrecy. Have a story? e-mail it to Beyounonymous@bucultureshock.com . We’ll take it to our servers’ graves.
Graduation inspires two responses: excitement and dread. Most of my friends are either dreading the real world or running towards it with open arms. At some point during this year, I definitely felt both, but now I’m having another reaction, a third, unrelated one that is unexpected and crazy. I’m hoping that writing about it will help clarify what it is and, more importantly, what it means.
I’m a first generation college student: neither of my parents went to college and the last person to graduate in my family did so over seven years ago. Therefore everyone’s excitement is focused on me, and in some ways, it’s pretty fun: my cousin wants to plan me the graduation party to end all graduation parties and my mom is practically bouncing off the ceiling about buying announcements, photos, and my cap and gown. Unfortunately, I’m not sharing in their excitement…any of it. And, unlike my peers, it’s not because I’m scared or uncertain. No, I’m not excited, because I just don’t feel like it’s a big deal.
Like I said, being a first gen, everyone keeps telling me how proud they are, how far I’ve come and what an accomplishment it is to be graduating college at the age of 20. And, although logically I know that I should be proud of myself, I don’t feel as though I’ve personally done much of anything special. One reason for my apathy is that I’m not doing anything spectacular after graduation. Yes, I’m planning a big trip, and yes I’m actually (really) excited to move to a new city and enter the real working world, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel these things are insignificant in comparison to what I could be doing. Most of my friends are going to graduate school: PhD programs, med school,. you name it. I decided to take at least a year off before I apply for Master’s programs: it was a personal choice and I’m really glad that it’s the route I’ve chosen to take. Funnily enough, even if I was going to school, I don’t think I’d feel very different. Most of it, though, is because I was always going to college: it’s like washing the dishes to me. I’m supposed to wash the dishes, so what’s the big deal when I wash them? I feel the same thing about graduating. I know that a lot of people never get the opportunity to go to college, let alone graduate. I know that it opens doors (even with this economy) and I know that it gives you all kinds of experiences. But I was supposed to have them and I’m SUPPOSED to graduate. Like I said: doing dishes.
I mean, graduating is a big deal—just not to me. My mom probably thinks I’m crazy, as she spends a lot of time these days reiterating how proud everyone is of me. It’s weird that I’m neither happy nor sad about graduating and I hope that by May 22nd I’ll be able to muster some feeling up. Somehow, not feeling anything is more upsetting than being miserable.