Friday, May 10, 2013

Graduating is Cool, I Guess

See my magna cum laude medal? It's shiny.
I like shiny.
So, I graduated from Ball State on Saturday. Whoa, right? Go me! I was a first-generation college student and I made it out in four years with a 3.86 GPA. I should be proud. I am proud. My mom is prouder.

But the day before I graduated, my manager at work took me aside to warn me that corporate had decided to cap all part-timers’ hours at 28. She knew I had planned to work as close to full time as they would let me after graduation, and she didn’t want me to count on that happening. I nodded, said “Ok, thanks for telling me,” then locked myself in the back room and bawled. When I got off work, I went straight to bed and bawled some more.

I love my job. LOVE it. I was looking forward to living off of it while I continued to write, at least for awhile. Thanks to the 21st Century Scholars program, I’m one of those rare college grads entering the world debt-free-- and because I came from a low-income household, I know what it’s like to be crushed under your bills. That’s a thing I’m terrified of, and a thing I swore would never happen to me.

So here I am, with an English degree and a part-time job in Muncie, Indiana, and I’m scared. I took a huge risk when I chose to get an education in Creative Writing; I know that. But life has always sort of worked itself out for me and I assumed that my luck would continue. Now I don’t know what’s ahead. Will I have to leave to find a decent job? Do I even want to stay? What will I have to give up in order to support myself? Where will I be in five years? Ten? Will I still be happy?

Today I bumped into one of my old teachers, who still tells the story of how I corrected her spelling of Lamborghini in first grade. She’s one of dozens, if not hundreds, of people in my life who always assumed that I would go far. Until now, it never occurred to me that I might let them down.

Okay, pity party over! I try to remind myself that I’m a lot better off than many people my age, but I think I’m still allowed a little worry now and then. Seriously though, is adulthood the scariest thing ever or what? 

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