Column: Death and graduation are certain
Published: Friday, January 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 25, 2013 13:01
Up until age 17, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up — none of this teacher-lawyer-doctor crap, oh no. I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to be a crazy, tattooed, rolling-in-money worshiped-in-excess rock star. I knew what expensive car I wanted, I knew what I wanted my fans to write on their signs at my sold-out shows, I knew where I wanted my six vacation homes.
And then the dream I’d nursed from the days of watching Vh1’s “Behind the Music” with my dad since childhood was gone. The post-sophomore-year haze when parents and counselors start trying to impress upon us how important it is to get good grades and get high test scores so we could get into school and get a good job and live successfully — if they weren’t already doing it before — ruined life as we knew it. It became startlingly clearer to me that I did not have a dream, or at least not an acquirable one. Now that I’d been forced to confront reality — something that I still struggle with in my daily life — I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. Could I do a lot of things? Yes. Did I want to do a lot of things? The answer, honestly, is still no. I know what I don’t want — to be stuck in a job I hate, leading the same boring life I came to college to escape. But as I have discovered at so many points in my life, I don’t know what I really want.
Some people know exactly what they want to do with their lives. Obviously, these people are to be congratulated and admired as they waltz down the roads of their lives in certainty. The rest of us, however, are left to wonder not only what it is we want to be when we grow up, but at which point we can call ourselves all grown up. Over the past three years, the closer we inch to graduation, the less I know what I want to be when I grow up. I have plans, plans like we all have — get a job, grad school, get some experience until the “next step.”
The closer we all get to graduation, the more anxious we become and the less sure of everything we’ve learned — the more certain we become that we haven’t learned anything at all. Can’t we stay another year or two? Are you sure we’re ready, Loyola?
But that’s what college is. It’s a time bomb. You have four years, eight semesters. It seems like forever — a dramatic and exhilarating dancing, singing, drinking forever, but it’s not. I hate telling you that, I can’t stand hearing those clichés — “oh, it goes by so fast,” “best years of my life,” so on and so forth. And it’s not true — I know I’m years away from that freshman girl flinching at the prison-like qualities of her room in Buddig. I know I’m years away from who I was a year ago. Most of all, I certainly hope the best years of my life are yet to come. Do I know what’s coming? Do I know what I want to be when I grow up? No, not yet. I’m working on it. I’ll get there. It may move slowly, but I’ll get there, and so will graduation day.
People ask us, are we ready for graduation? Are we excited? We hope so. We certainly hope so. We’ll get there.
Lexi Wangler is an English writing senior and can be reached at
Reflections is a regular column open to all Loyola students. Those interested in contributing can contact firstname.lastname@example.org