The five stages of college graduation
Life is funny because it moves on even when we want to stay in a moment forever. I'm in the second semester of my senior year and it hit me last week that this is almost over.
I'm about to be thrust into the world with none of my safety nets. It's as much a thrill as it is terrifying. We're less than 50 days away from graduation. Grad fair is happening on Tempe campus as as we speak and many of us aren't quite ready to let go of the college scene.
You know that you've come to this realization when you experience the five stages of graduating into a big kid.
- Denial - It starts with a random Facebook post. You'll see a graduation countdown on someone's wall and it'll finally hit you that you're almost at the end of college; this huge chapter of your life is about to come to an abrupt end. So we deny, deny, and deny it some more. Often, alcohol, Ke$ha and aggressively watching Netflix is involved. We stonewall anyone that so much as brings up graduation and pretend like it's not happening. You end up saying, "I love college" way more than you used to.
- Anger - The next phase is being mad about growing up. To rebel against the inevitable we aggressively watch Netflix, party all night and go on as many late night adventures as possible. You're never on campus during the weekends, because of road trips and bar hopping and every "last time" post that you see makes you angry. You rant and rage with friends about how stupid college is anyway (even though your insecurity is threatening to choke you). Rage is easier than fear or pain.
- Bargaining - This is when you start thinking about staying an extra semester (or year). You come up with every excuse in the book such as, "I want to study abroad" or "I want to live it up a little longer" and even, "Why leave college when the job market sucks anyway?" Life's a lot easier when you only have to worry about what classes to take in the fall and what you're going to do over the summer. It's totally different when there's a question mark six months down the road.
- Depression - This is the stage that I'm just now getting out of. In college, we have friends and family and set expectations. We know what's expected of us. Insecurity is a struggle when we don't have others to tell us what to do. This is the point where we shut off our phones and social media. You'll find it hard to get out of bed and you just want to cry all the time because you don't know what's going to happen after this. You're miserable and your second round of tests are coming up. This is often the lowest point of the semester for seniors, because their will to try is practically nonexistent.
- Acceptance - Once the crying is over, there's nothing left to do but suck it up and buy your cap and gown. Order the announcements. Plan the graduation party or trip. You've accepted that a chapter of your life is coming to an end, and while it's still terrifying, you're having fun with the time you have left.