Graduation to Now

Graduation. Everybody at university practically lives for that word. It can mean so many different things from freedom, to wealth, to personal growth. So many of our hopes and dreams get poured into such a concept; we work and toil, stressing over exams, papers, and grades. College students might as well be paying for graduation with their blood and sweat. It could be called the culmination of our dreams. It could also just be the day one shifts from training to application. Either way, graduation is a sign of change- a change where the things one has learned can be taken to the rest of the world to produce something for the rest of society. It could also be a change where the poor college student finally doesn’t have to rely upon the financial aid of others and is able to stand on his own. But most importantly, it is a day to consider the past, present, and future: what you’ve overcome, what you’re currently going through, and what follows.

This is probably why I’ve never enjoyed my graduations. From high school to community college, not much changed for me; it was just another shift to a higher form of education. I didn’t even go to the grand event. I celebrated by staying home with a bowl of ice cream. My graduation from community college with an Associate’s Degree was the same; I took a small break, and now I’m back to school at Dallas Baptist University. Despite these graduations, the shift was never quite the same scale as that from college to career.

The truth of the matter is that every college student is going through a time of monumental change. After all, it’s when they start living in a new place with new people and a new set of rules. No matter how much preparation one goes through before the change, the new culture and environment forces growth. But the big thing about this shift is that even if newly-arrived college freshmen aren’t adults yet, they’re (hopefully) heading towards adulthood. There’s room for growth; not everyone is expected to be perfect as soon as they take those first few steps into college. University includes learning how the world works, how the work life operates, how the bills come in, how the food needs to be made, how the rent needs to be paid, so that when graduation comes… you’re ready. So while I might not be close to graduation, I know I can focus on related things. I can prepare, here and now, in the present.

Graduation might be what you’re aiming for, but don’t forget about what comes after. College doesn’t have to only be about what classes you’ve completed and what grades you’ve made; it can also be about learning to live life as an adult so that when graduation comes, you’re ready. Of course, defining what it is to be an adult is a subject big enough for a separate blog post (or five), and since I haven’t actually graduated from university yet, I probably don’t have many words of wisdom about this possible future. But don’t forget, while college graduation is a huge milestone, it’s important to aim for what’s after as well. Don’t just dream about graduation itself; dream beyond it! What career would you like? What hobbies? What else do you want to do afterwards?

You might be about to graduate. You might have to work towards it a while longer like I do. Either way, it’s worthwhile to consider all the implications of graduation: what things were like before, things to learn now, and things yet to come. Who knows, maybe soon you’ll get to stand on that stage, diploma in hand, and take another step closer to your dreams. Maybe this consideration will provide some clarity needed to achieve that.

Written by Isaac

Image credit: http://m-static.flikie.com/ImageData/WallPapers/0025a090c0b246bfb53a92fb742ff43e.jpg 

Advertisements

Fantastic

The idea of fantasy is interesting to me. The word itself holds a lot of intrigue, drawing me in like a moth to a flame. I’ve always thought of fantasies as escapes from the doldrums of ordinary life—things to distract me from particularly long and sleep-inducing activities. My mind is a wild place most of the time, and I can imagine some amazing circumstances for myself in daydreams. I’m excited by all the possibilities of what my life could be like; in fact, sometimes I am obsessed with them.

What’s wrong with this picture? I love thinking up adventures for myself. I love imagining myself as the person I want to be, imagining situations with the outcomes I want them to have, imagining problems solved the way I want them to be solved, imagining people acting the way I want them to act. The problem is that the world around me does not conform to my design. Living in my fantasies can easily persuade me that real life is not good enough or even worth living. I used to find it a daunting challenge to reconcile the way things really are with the way I want things to be. I’ve definitely become more realistic with years of practice, and I’d like to say I’ve mastered the quality of focusing on my present reality, but lately I’ve found myself drifting into daydreams just a bit too often.

God is always teaching me who I truly am. I used to think I was a dreamer, but now I know He has called me to be a doer. I do lots of things, from schoolwork to my job as a receptionist here at the Writing Center to the volunteer service I accomplish with my church. My daydreams don’t always coincide with the things I do in reality, and I’m still learning that that’s okay. Just because I fantasize about a day when I’ve already earned my degree and obtained a job in my field doesn’t mean I’m at that point in reality. On a more spectacular scale, just because I fantasize that I’m a crime-fighting superhero with the powers of flight and invisibility doesn’t mean that experience will occur in my real life.

superhero

The concept I’m trying to focus on these days is that, even though not all of my fantasies are destined to come true, my actual life is an amazing adventure. It’s so much better than my fantasies because it’s real!  Of course, some of my dreams are worth seeking, but many of my favorite experiences are things I never imagined would happen to me. Like my dad always tells me, “Wherever you go, there you are.” It sounds ridiculous, but it reminds me that focusing on my present circumstances and work rather than wishing I was in a different situation is so much more effective in the way of doing the good works God has prepared for me (Ephesians 2:10). It’s important for me to train my heart to be content and have the joy of the Lord in all situations (Philippians 4:12). Keeping my heart rooted in this truth allows me to pour my heart into the things I do in real life—my schoolwork, job at the UWC, and service with my church—and to do all those things to the best of my ability (Colossians 3:23). I can thoroughly enjoy everything I do and grow as much as possible with every new experience.

There’s nothing wrong with fantasies. They are a great place for my mind to rest when I’m going through a rough time and need to keep in mind the good things that God has for my future. Imagining those things, hoping for them, and knowing that God keeps all His promises to me are all acts of my faith (Hebrews 11:1). There is, however, a difference between walking in faith that God has wonderful things in store for me and living in a daydream where I can’t do any of the good works He’s laid out in my present. I am so grateful that I have a great, good heavenly Father to keep me grounded so that I don’t miss out on my awesome reality.

Written by Becca

Image credits:

http://thedreamersof.tumblr.com/quit-tips

http://worldsuperheros.blogspot.com/2013/02/female-super-hero.html