Preparing for the end of the college road

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For all of the upcoming college seniors this year, welcome to your last official summer vacation. After we plow through our final semesters at college, the doors of life (which I imagine are, like, 50 feet tall and made of rugged iron — closely comparing to the Iron Throne from “Game of Thrones”) will swing open and we graduates will flow through those doors like water through a floodgate. As such, this is the time to be thinking about what’s next and to approach these next few summer months and the school year with some sense of direction.

With senior year coming up, I am filled with terror, excitement and anxiety as I, and many others, near the end of the academic road we have known since the tender age of five.

After we finish college, for many of us it will be the first time where we haven’t had a clear and obvious next step. Up until now, it’s been a predictable transition — grammar school to junior high, junior high to high school, high school to college.

Some of us will go through these hypothetical doors mightily and majestically, with six-figure jobs on the horizon and freshly pressed business-professional work attire, while others will stumble, trip and fall, or get swallowed up by the world that is on the other side of those doors.

Starting with this summer and moving towards this next school year, we seniors should continue to dedicate ourselves to exploring our ambitions. With the various classes we took, clubs we joined and other activities we became involved in, we dipped our toes into the water of what we were interested in and what we were good at — and now it’s time to dive in and take a swim.

At this point, the only thing that is going to drive us forward through those intimidating, metaphorical doors is passion for whatever it may be in your respective field.

Without some deep-seeded motivation to delve further into the pursuance of a particular job or activity, I think it will become that much more challenging to stand confidently at the end of the road with that college degree. But if we take the time now to sharpen the tools in our toolbox and really hone in on our skill sets, we will set ourselves up for success in the intimidating reality of life after college.

By no means do I expect to know exactly where I will be this time a year from now, and I think it’s silly for anyone to know for sure, but I have definite anticipations.

And whether it be through a job or internship position this summer, or a club or other involvement during the school year, I advise all of us upcoming seniors to think seriously about what we want – what motivates us and will inspire us to move towards a particular future after college because, believe it or not, the end of this final stretch of road will be here before we know it.

So while I hope my entrance through those big, iron doors between college and the ever-ambiguous “real world” involves me strolling through in slow motion as fireworks blast above me and the song “Eye of the Tiger” plays in the background, I’m sure I will trip and fall just the same. But I’m hoping with some valiant effort on my part during this upcoming year, I will go through fearless and confident, and I hope my fellow seniors will do the same.

Nicki is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @NickiHalenza.