Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thoughts of a soon-to-be college graduate

I have often heard my mom say that the older you get, the less you know. As I have gotten older, I have found that to be more and more true—especially now. It seems ironic to feel utterly unknowledgeable when I am a few weeks away from getting my college diploma—my very own BA—but that feeling just keeps getting stronger and stronger.

When I took my ASL 202 final, I was ecstatic. It's a great feeling to finish something big that you started. But when that feeling wore off about a week later, I started to feel like my life was now meaningless. With no school and no marriage prospects, I felt like there was nothing to work toward, nothing to look forward to. It was about then that my mind opened up a little bit and I started to realize just how much I have left to learn. My education doesn't end here; in fact, it is just beginning.

Education isn't all about reading, writing, and studying. It isn't all about showing up to class and working on group projects. I have written hundreds of papers and read hundreds of thousands of pages during my 4 years at BYU (and I have wasted hours of precious time working on stupid group projects), but the things I have learned have only introduced me to even more things to learn.

I always thought that I would be sad when I officially finished my degree. I knew I would miss the classroom settings and even the excitement of reading some new text and then writing about it. I worried that I wouldn't be as happy in an environment where I wouldn't be constantly trying to remember certain facts and important ideas. But those experiences can be had anywhere, at any time. We can still learn important (and unimportant) things wherever we go. I may think I know a lot about British and American lit, but I haven't learned it all. I never will be able to learn it all. And then there's all of the stuff I didn't study in college. Like math. And the lessons of life that I somehow managed to ignore while I was writing and editing papers. Life is a never-ending school experience, so I'm never really going to have to say good-bye to formal education.

So while I may feel like my brain has enlarged simply so it can make fun of the tiny amount of knowledge I have, it's very comforting to know that there is still something to work toward, something that will never end. I'll be so busy trying to take on a whole new life that I won't have time to miss college. I'll always look back on these days with fondness, and I'll be forever grateful for the person that I am because of my college experience, but the future has even more in store for me. And at the moment, I'm going to revel in the excitement of that prospect rather than the terror and confusion of it.

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