The end of a journey, the end of an era. Graduation time has come and gone for Autumn graduates.
Although the typical graduate experience is to walk in the stadium on a warm, sunny Sunday in May, I shivered my way into the Schott with nearly 4,000 fellow graduates.
I don’t have some elaborate story as to why I didn’t graduate back in May with my friends and peers. The reality is that through my first three years in college, I changed my major five times. It’s not unheard of, but it definitely wasn’t my plan. My “extended pathway” had me finally settling on strategic communication during my junior year, and I’m honestly still figuring things out as I go. But as my journey to get my bachelor’s has now come to an end, I’ve reflected on the lessons I learned through my college experience to share them with you, the ones still pushing through to senior year.
Group projects in gen eds are so different than the ones in your major. The major ones will have more of an impact on you because it’s actually related to what you want to do post-grad. Not to say it necessarily gets easier to coordinate with your group members when one doesn’t show up, but, when we all have an actual long term interest in the project, it’s more motivating and the group throws more cohesive work together.
Lesson learned: This isn’t just my comm major showing, I promise, but communication is KEY. It’s super important to communicate with other members of any group or team. Making sure everyone’s on the same page will keep the group afloat. Even if you want to lone wolf your way through tasks, you have to at least be aware of what everyone else is contributing so there isn’t overlap or missing aspects.
Yes, the rumors are true. “Sunday scaries” will continue to hit you every week. Maybe you had a party Friday night, then went to the game on Saturday, then brunch and chores Sunday afternoon. Now you’ve got a five-hour window to turn in three assignments before 11:59… I’ll be hardcore adulting soon, so I’ve been trying to get better at this…. But I made to the end of the semester, so it all worked out, right? *Sheds tear*
Lesson learned: Realizing that you really have to hold yourself accountable for your actions and behavior can be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s absolutely necessary. With great undergrad knowledge comes great self- responsibility, and the reality is that you are running this show. Procrastination and other counterproductive habits can’t be dropped overnight (or even in 4+ years, in my case). You have to take steps toward your goals and make yourself focus on what’s important, but of course you don’t have to do it alone. Take it from me, as someone who suffered in silence for too long, I know now that asking for help is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
A CHANGING CAMPUS
All of the constant construction can make getting to class a hassle and make you question if this was even the same place you chose to attend four years ago. To me, I still think it’s cool to go to a school that’s always making improvements. Sometimes it’s weird to walk through this big campus because I still have vivid memories of walking around for the first time with my roommates during move-in weekend. I remember us walking around the Oval, facing the Wex and thinking, “Where am I? Is this still OSU?” I remember getting on a Campus Loop North bus when I needed South, and vice versa, too many times to count. Although I still don’t know all of campus like the back of my hand, it’s definitely a familiar second home to me now. As the campus grew and evolved, I kind of evolved with it.
Lesson learned: Every new beginning will become a familiar home to you. Don’t be afraid of change; adapting to new environments is easier than you think! It takes some time, of course, but you’ll be comfortable before you know it. That fish-out-of-water feeling doesn’t last forever.
Looking back, these years were more painful than I thought they’d be, but satisfying in the long run. I’m grateful to have learned so much about my field, and I learned more than enough about myself to take on the world with this knowledge in me. From my first time in the bookstore, seeing all the colorful tassels and not knowing what they meant, to now having my own white tassel (shout out to the college of Arts & Sciences) and my bachelor’s degree from THE Ohio State University. I’m officially done! As corny as it sounds, I really will miss this time in my life. Undergrad is such a unique… time warp… that’s like none other. But now that I’m joining alumni, the party doesn’t end. Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye.
IF I COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND GIVE LITTLE FRESHMAN ME SOME ADVICE, I’D SAY:
- Don’t just settle on something – study what you really love. You already know what it is, and you won’t do well if you already hate your classes and major.
- Actually talk to people in your classes, especially when you’re in classes for your major! You never know who will end up with at the same internships, programs, or jobs. It’s nice to see some familiar faces at graduation when you’re sitting with only graduates in your field.
- Take advantage of more opportunities at school (like the career center, job fairs, etc.) and be more productive during your summers. Making money over the summer is great, but take some time to plan out your future. Do a degree audit at the end of each semester to make sure you’re on the right path, and readjust anything if you need to.
- Decorate your grad cap, kid. It’s the last hurrah! After four (or more) long years, you deserve this shining moment! Grad season can be pretty overwhelming and make you feel like you’re just one of a thousand other kids doing the same thing. But a decorated cap can set you apart from the sea of black caps, and sit in your closet as a lifelong reminder of the .:*:superstar :*:. you are, and the great milestone you’ve accomplished.