OPINION: Graduation is the beginning of your life

Seniors — you have three-ish months until your time is up. But I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of that.

It’s been on my brain a lot, lately. A ticking timer in big, red lights like you’d see at a sporting event. It’s always in my vision — in class, at parties, but mostly while lying in bed at night.

I think it’s safe to say nighttime is when most breakdowns happen. It’s you and your thoughts, fighting, until one wins. This is about the time where you start to question your life choices: Did I do enough in college? Where will I be after graduation? Will I have friends? Will I be wealthy enough? I’m going to miss everyone. Well, not everyone.

Sometimes you snap out of it (because you fall asleep) and other times, you just might do something stupid out of anxiety, like sign up for another club even though you already have five on your resume.

Graduation is a big, scary, blurry, (any other horrifying adjective here) thing, and it’s coming. There is no stopping it from occurring. Once you realize that, you need to breathe, and I mean a lot of “through the nose, out the mouth.”

Let’s all just be a little honest here — it’s the beginning of February and I still don’t know what I am going to be doing in three months, and I’m not too worried … yet. Know why? I know I have experience, I know I have potential, and most of all, I know I have time.

Sure, student loan payments won’t wait forever to start showing up in your mailbox, but you are on the edge of the world. Graduating is like wiping the slate clean, and beginning an entire new journey anywhere you want, even if it starts in your parents’ basement.

You have time to decide where you want to be and what you want to do, and then go for it. Yes, you can (and should) work on deciding that before summer is here, but if May comes and graduation passes and you’re still jobless, don’t cry on your momma’s shoulder.

You have the rest of your life (literally!) to find a job and move somewhere cool. Let me repeat, the rest of your life is in front of you.

Graduating college is a lot more exciting and different from graduating high school. In high school, it’s the standard to go to college right afterwards. But when you’re crossing the stage at your university, your options are now endless. You have a degree and most likely, a ton of experience to share with the world. Who says you need to find a big-person job? Use your wealth (not the money kind) to make a difference or travel. Hey, you’re already knee deep in loans, why not tack on $1,000 more to see Africa?

In the meantime, enjoy college. Balance your days between job searching and searching for the address to that party.

After graduating, your friends will likely be in a different state than you. You won’t be able to meet up with them at any given moment. You will have more responsibility than homework and a part-time job. And you won’t be able to keep up that alcohol tolerance for much longer (we hope).

Don’t dwell on the fact that people call college “the best years of your life.” No one’s stopping you from making the year after college your best year yet.

Picture it this way: When you graduate, you will have enough money at your full-time job to eat more than peanut butter. You can live in any city in the world that you want to. And you won’t have to write 25-page term papers. You’re a bit more free.

As your time bomb is ticking down to zero, remember that five months from now, things will be different. But different is good. Your best years are yet to come.