A Long Bus Ride

I vividly remember riding home on the bus on one of the last days of 8th grade. Specifically, I remember being scared of growing up but assuring myself that the day I graduated college would never come. It was too far away. I remember being terrified of who I would become as a young adult.

Well, you might have guessed it–the time did come. In just eight days, I’ll walk out of Trask Coliseum with a B.A. in Communication Studies. It is surreal, in a sense, that the time is finally here–hearing about graduation all my life and now I’m finally preparing to walk across the stage. There are things that I will miss about being a college student, absolutely. I’ll miss the beach, the long summers, the one-month winter vacations, the blank check to eat whatever I want and the friends I’ve made here. But ultimately, I’m not dreading graduation, or working a “real job.” I’m looking forward to it. UNC-Wilmington, and specifically the Communication Studies department, has made me into the man I am today. Our major certainly wasn’t an easy one, and I had to take many courses and complete many assignments that I absolutely dreaded. However, I’m very grateful for them now because I see their importance in the post-grad world. There’s no feeling quite like being able to apply your academics to “the real world,” but Communication Studies has given me plenty of opportunities to do this. Seeing the transformative model of mediation in practice at my internship was exciting. Using my Journalism classes to write clear and concise writing has prepared me for most any job I’ll end up taking.

I even hesitate to say that I won’t miss certain things that may seem bothersome–like reading pages and pages of work I wasn’t interested in, or writing long papers late into the night. But even after I did these things, there was a sense of accomplishment. There’s always been a sense of accomplishment in my work, and I can only hope I don’t lose that after graduation.

Right now, it seems like my 30th birthday is forever away. It will never come. Neither will my 40th, or my 50th–it’s almost a separate reality. But just as I would have told my 8th grade self on the bus back in 2006, it will be here much quicker than you know it. I’m not scared this time. I’m ready.

–Brandon Hawkins