Thoughts of a graduating senior

College ends. It’s a sad, but true fact. One day we will all leave Baker University and begin our lives as members of society. For some, these college days end sooner than expected. Graduating early is both an honor and a curse.

I have spent the past 16 years as a full-time student for nine months out of every year, and starting in January, that will no longer be my reality. I will leave my school days behind and face the world as a college graduate. It’s hard to wrap my mind around what I will do and who I will be once I leave Baker’s campus.

In the final semester of my undergraduate career, I am faced with many decisions. Do I go to graduate school? Do I take a year off and gain experience in the field? Do I find a job and start my adult life without more school? The most daunting question, however, comes from others: What will you do with your life now?

Society dictated everything up to this point. Elementary, middle and high school were required. College was a widely-pushed necessity. What do I do now that I have fulfilled everything that has been required and encouraged? What do I do when it’s all up to me?

Leaving behind the people and the university that has made me who I am, I will venture into the world and that’s scary. Even though I know I have been given the skills to lead a successful life beyond Baker, the reality is that I don’t know what it will be like out there. My part-time job will become my full-time job. My life will move forward as it’s supposed to and the pre-planned days of classes and homework will be gone.

As you prepare to graduate, you know everything is going to be different. Your life is about to become your own. No one else can tell you what to do anymore; it’s all on you. It’s terrifying and thrilling all at once. All of the freedoms we’ve longed for in our lives will suddenly be there. You get to decide where to live and how you’ll live.

I heard once that your life begins when you turn 18, but I disagree. Your life begins when you’re the one in charge. As I enter this final semester at Baker, I am reminded of all the lessons I’ve learned here. Baker has changed my life forever and though I’m leaving earlier than planned, I am eternally grateful for all that the Baker community has given me.