Friday, January 8, 2010 Leave a comment
Originally published October 22, 2009.
Introducing yourself as a senior in college usually garners one of two responses: “Are you having fun?” or “What are you doing after graduation?”
I’ve made the most of college and I have some vague ideas about where I’m headed, like most other seniors would tell you. But part of me feels like what I need to do after graduating is relax from making the most of everything. Perhaps entering Professional Land will help.
It sounds strange to say that the real world promises to be a relaxing place. As we do the customary last-minute scrabble for employment and internship positions, meeting with counselors at the Career Center for the first time since we got to college and trying to tell ourselves exactly what we want to do with the rest of our lives, the real world seems like the looming shadow of doom coming ever closer.
While I understand everything won’t be sunshine and ponies after undergrad, college is tougher than many give it credit for. No one expects you to do a two-floor beer bong at an office job or study for three exams the same week you have a major essay due.
Then again, no one gives you a free week-long vacation in March, either.
But seriously, while many employers certainly do expect you to get work done five days a week without huge summer and winter breaks, there’s something to be said for normalcy.
You walk into work at a set time every day, accomplish as much as you can during that time frame, and then leave it there when it’s time to clock out.
Unlike classes, your time commitment isn’t scattered over the course of your day, sometimes running from early morning into the evening with only awkward breaks in between.
While some employers definitely differ, most don’t ask that you come into work and take weekly if not daily assignments home with you to be done before your next shift. No one expects you to pull an all-nighter to accomplish designated tasks.
It’s certainly not to say that college instructors expect this kind of desperate action, but students get so caught up in “making the most” of being at school that we often forget important things: that coming to a university is about getting a particular kind of education, and that “making the most” of something should entail having fun, not being stressed.
At a university that boasts one of the largest networks of student organizations, this is especially true. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the offerings at Quad Day and within the Champaign-Urbana community as far as your interests or personal goals. There are a wealth of opportunities to be had, and sometimes we push ourselves to participate in things that are supposed to be recreational without realizing how it will interact with our ability to do coursework.
Acting in that play and working part-time sounded great until you hit midterms and tech week at the same time.
Having money to do the things you like around town can help you make the most of your time and offset college costs. It might also give you great stuff to put on a resume.
But sometimes it’s another thing to throw on the “making the most of things” pile, especially if you work in some place like University Housing, where your home is your place of work. Some days, it just seems like your routine never ends.
Will I miss my undergrad days? Definitely. It’s a unique time in life.
But so are the experiences I’m headed for after leaving, after getting my footing in the real world.
I don’t think I’ll land some dream job that immediately puts me on the road to a magical easy life.
But I’m looking forward to getting back the pauses in life, the precious time when nothing happens, and nothing is expected.
Chelsea is a senior in LAS.