The future is here, but I’m not ready

I’m not ready.

I’m a bit teary-eyed. My final class at Northwestern University has come to an end, and I’m just not ready.

Way back when I used to be a college student – just a few hours ago – life was planned out for me. I chose my own classes each quarter, but I knew that I’d be taking four of them, and I had to take an econ, an art, three political science and 11 journalism courses. Enough freedom to choose what I wanted to learn, but enough boundaries to keep me from getting lost.

What will keep me now from getting lost?

Way back when I was in college, there was a social structure in place. Activities were planned for me weekly in my dorm and in extracurricular organizations. I lived in close proximity to hundreds of potential best friends and boyfriends, and the student center was a perfectly acceptable place to have a meeting or a coffee date. I could find something in common with anybody on campus.

Where will I go now to find my community?

Way back when I attended an expensive university for four years, I had part-time jobs to cover personal expenses and fun, but my tuition and rent were taken care of by my parents. Health insurance was not a worry, and if I had a problem, my family and friends were close.

Who will take care of me now when I’m on my own?

Four years have passed too quickly. I haven’t learned enough. I haven’t met enough professors. I haven’t made enough friends, I haven’t explored Chicago enough, I haven’t taken advantage of everything this campus has to offer.

How could I possibly be done? How can I possibly be prepared enough to enter the real world?

But then I look back on the past four years of classes, of professors, of firesides and speakers. I recall the wonderful people I’ve encountered and the things they’ve taught me. I think of the activities I’ve done, the projects I’ve worked on, the things I’ve accomplished.

I remember where I was on my first day of freshman year, and I look to where I am today.

And I think maybe, just maybe, I might actually be ready for the future.

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