Leaving Laurier means leaving behind a part of my identity.
This coming June my graduating class and I will walk across the stage at the Sanderson Centre and receive our long awaited diplomas.
Our journey to this point has been one of countless ‘all nighters’, millions of cups of coffee, hundreds of dollars spent on textbooks and at least a dozen mental breakdowns per semester.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve said or heard the words “I can’t wait to be done with school” or “I just want to graduate already”.
With so much going on in our lives, it’s hard to stop and think about what it will actually mean to be finished with school.
When all the exams are done and all the papers have been submitted, a lot of us, myself included, won’t be students anymore. For those of us in this situation, this graduation is unlike any we’ve seen in the past.
We’ve graduated from elementary school into high school and high school into university. Some of us even had a ceremony after finishing kindergarten and moving into the number grades. However, there is one big difference this time around.
We aren’t leaving one school to go and experience another form of education. We aren’t just graduating from Laurier, we are saying goodbye to an identity that has been with us since the early years of Jr. kindergarten. To put that into perspective, the year was 1999 when I started my first day of elementary school. Most of us don’t even have memories as old as that. In other words, I have been a student for 82 per cent of my life.
That being said, I find myself afraid of graduating and leaving behind this part of my identity. It’s not just a fear of responsibility and having to enter the harsh reality of the working world. For me, it’s more about what I‘m going to lose than it is about all that I have to gain. I won’t be able to tell people I’m in school when they ask what I’m doing with myself. The time has come where I’m going to need a real answer and I’m just not ready for that.
Along with the title “student” comes a type of certainty in my life. I know exactly where I’m going to be, when I’m going to be there and for how long.
For the last few summer’s I’ve had a summer student position with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and I loved my job. As much as I enjoyed my short time in the professional working world, there was always a sense of comfort in knowing I would be going back to school.
The same laws apply for life within school. Hate your semester? It’s all good. In a few short months you will be given a completely knew schedule. Do you have nine papers, 12 exams and a 1500 page reading to complete by the end of this week? It’s fine! Sleep in till 1:00 P.M. and do it when you wake up. There are no set times where you have to be working, so night owls like me can still sleep all day and have our work done in time.
Having a hard time with a professor? Switch out of their class and never take one with them again. The same cannot be said when you dislike your boss or someone with higher authority at work.
And of course, my personal favourite part of being a student, time off. Just as our schedule changes every few months, so are we able to step back and take a break from being a full time student. Between fall and winter reading week, as well as the near month we have for Christmas break, students have a ton of free time each year to relax. Once I’m locked into a full time job, these opportunities for ‘time off’ become scares. With a full time job, you’re lucky to have 2 weeks every year where you can be away from work.
It’s time to say good-bye to being a student and so long to the perks that come with it. Fortunately, there are a number of positives to look forward to in the ‘real world’.