I never thought this day would come—literally.
College was not an easy task. I call it a task because of the formal definition of the word.
Task: a : a usually assigned piece of work often to be finished within a certain time
b : something hard or unpleasant that has to be done
I assigned both definitions to my college experience because both apply equally. It has been a long, unrelenting four years of trials, triumphs, and trying to pass each class by the skin of my teeth. Let me make one thing clear: I did not enjoy the college experience. It’s not that UNCW isn’t a tremendous school with unlimited opportunities (like ETEAL…), but I made the conscious choice not to take advantage of any of them.
Let me rephrase: I took advantage of ONE of them. At the end of my freshman year, I spent a week at a ranch in Honduras providing medical care to underprivileged communities. Once my plane landed back in Texas, I turned on my phone to be bombarded with emails from almost every important UNCW faculty and staff member there is. Apparently, when a student gets a 1.4 GPA that’s when the university starts to notice. I was placed on academic probation because of my poor grades, and I was placed on house arrest by my parents for the next six months.
Unlike most college students who screw up their first semester and learn from their mistakes, my mistakes continued and are still continuing as I write this today. Fall of 2012 I almost got kicked out of UNCW and considered attempting to transfer schools, if I could even get accepted anywhere else. Just last semester I begged my father to let me drop out and join the military. Even these past six months, I experienced terrifying and unhealthy situations that had me grateful to still be alive and loved by as many people as I am. I have never been able to balance school and my personal life, allowing the poor decisions I make outside of the classroom to severely affect my grades. I’m struggling to pass all my classes this semester in order to graduate in 12 days. As a senior, that is the most stressful and terrifying of all the things I’ve encountered.
These past four years I have felt more lost than I ever felt before, and as a 21 year old senior graduating (hopefully), I would like to say that I have a sense of direction for what I want to do, but I don’t. Honestly, I don’t even know if I want a job in public relations, advertising, or anything that my Communication Studies major has a “focus” in. I have no idea what I’m doing and it terrifies me and excites me all at the same time. I hate plans, and schedules, and deadlines and calendars. It’s been a struggle for me ever since I was young. I have never quite felt connected to the school or my classes, causing me to be uninterested and indifferent towards my grades, attendance, and effort. My mind is always elsewhere, creating and imagining worlds of possibilities that I wish to explore as soon as I can get out of here. I sit in class and wonder if it’s all worth it, not just school, but everything. Graduating from a good school, getting a good paying job, buying a home, raising a family, is this all that there is? Am I wrong for not wanting any of it, but rather to live eccentrically day by day chasing my true dreams (as corny as it sounds)? I feel different than everyone else, so is that wrong?
I love my parents for the education they have provided for me, and I fully believe I’ve learned a lot in the past few years of school, but I stand firm on my opinion that I am much more than my education. I am much more than my solitary struggle of a college experience. I look back at the mistakes I made and the people I hurt and I wonder if I will ever find what I’m supposed to be doing, if I’ll ever make a difference, or if I’ll ever truly know who I am. And thinking about these things always makes me come to one realization: I need to do something worth doing.
I want to experience culture and spirituality and values of other counties. I want to go back to try to help at least one woman from my own Middle Eastern heritage get an education, because it will never be as easy of an opportunity for them as it was for me. I want to live in a van and wake up to a different sunrise every morning. I want to sell all my belongings and work on organic farms for a few months. I want to repay my parents for all their pain and suffering and tuition costs. I want to do everything and anything.
I don’t know how long I have on Gods vast and wonderful earth, and if I have the choice to be free, I’m going to take it.
I want to be everything I can be.
But right now, I just want to graduate.
This post is not intended to offend my fellow student, professors, my department, or my university in any way or to diminish the aspirations of my classmates to work in the fields associated with our department. I love and appreciate the work you all put into our education. Thank you for putting up with me these past few years, I would have never been able to do it without you.