College graduation: The scariest, most exciting time of our lives

By Jared Talbot |

As I threw my cap into the air alongside my 176 classmates at my high school graduation, I never felt the overwhelming sense of pride that I’d always heard about.

I looked around at people’s faces and saw tears of joy as people hugged each other, sad to move on. I saw people screaming in excitement others smiling from ear to ear. Yet I did not feel much.

I was an average student who was decent at sports and could crack an occasional joke, but I didn’t feel as if I had accomplished all that much. It was nice to celebrate with friends and family and it was a wonderful day, but even back then I wondered if maybe college graduation would feel different.

Well, here I am, staring college graduation right in the face alongside my fellow classmates just 80 days away. Of course, my family is coming down and I continue to get calls from family members making plans for that weekend at the end of April.

The excitement is something I’m attempting to ignore for the moment, but it is creeping up fast. As it comes up faster and faster, I’ve come to realize that my 18-year-old self was right to wonder if I would feel different when it came to this graduation.

This graduation is and will be different. For the first time in my life, I am extremely proud. It feels good to know I’ve truly made an impact somewhere before I move on to the next stage of my life and I’m happy that I feel like I did that in my four years at Flagler. I didn’t get outstanding grades or become president of any clubs but that isn’t where my pride is stemming from.

Saying that you looked at the terrifying prospect that is going to college with all the financial factors involved and faced it head on may not be such a big deal to some, but it certainly is to me. I got involved with so many diverse groups and opportunities within my major that has me more prepared for the future than I could have imagined. I have made such good friends along the way and all the things I was scared about freshman year, seem so small now.

Pride comes along with impact. The more impact you can have on a person, place, event or time period, the more pride you may end up feeling. That’s what has happened to me at college and has led to me feeling so excited about graduation and seeing all the friends and family that are coming down for the weekend of celebration.

But it’s what comes after that, that is scary. When you graduate high school, typically you have some idea of comes next. You know what college you’re going to and maybe even what degree you’re working towards. College graduation is much different. After graduation, there’s a time when you might not have a job, which can be scary. We don’t know where we are going to end up or what we will be doing for work. Some of us aren’t even sure of what we want to do.

It is scary. All of it is scary. The fear of not knowing what is to come next is scary however it is also all so exciting. Growing up, we are all told that “the world is our oyster” and that “we control our destiny.” Yet we are all about to find out just what we’re made of as graduation approaches in the next 80 days.

I simply hope that my fellow classmates have the same outlook on it all as I do. It is OK to be scared. It is OK not know what’s coming next. Yet this is all also very exciting. Be excited about the future. Be excited about graduation and be proud of all that you’ve accomplished over these past four years as I am. This is going to be our day and we deserve it.

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