Identity crisis

BORTHWICK, Allison

Column by Allison Borthwick, Opinion Editor

I fundamentally don’t understand people who have a stress-free, fun, “last-hoorah” kind of senior year.

It didn’t go that way for me in high school, and it certainly isn’t going that way for me now.

My senior year of high school was a whirlwind of figuring out where I was going to spend the next four years of my life and how I was going to afford it all. I was bracing myself for a long-distance relationship and figuring out how I was going to hold on to that while also holding on to friendships that got me through high school.

I was an angsty, terrified, excited teenager making life-altering decisions, so my senior year was memorable, but not stress-free by any means.

Also, my mood depends almost entirely on how much sleep I get, so waking up at 6:30 a.m. and getting home anywhere between 5-10 p.m. every weekday was not conducive to anything other than constant abrasiveness.

My family and friends who dodged and managed my ever-changing mood swings are the true heroes.

One moment toward the end of that school year made the stress and anxiety subside, though, and it wasn’t even graduation.

It was the last day of classes, and our entire senior class celebrated the occasion beautifully – with abandon, defiance and freedom.

We wore the colors of the Land of the Free, gathered in the parking lot and stormed the halls of one of the largest public schools in Indianapolis.

It was a beautiful blur of red, white and blue – more than 700 students stampeding their way through one of their last high school experiences and on to bigger and better things.

My bigger and better things came, and they’re almost gone.

Murray State has given me nearly four years of priceless opportunities – professors turned mentors, acquaintances turned best friends, connections turned internship supervisors and soon a diploma turned exciting career.

I’m in my second senior year and I’m more stressed, terrified and excited than before.

This school year has been a constant juggling act of multiple jobs, capstone classes, senior seminars, nostalgia, losses and uncertainty of what the future holds.

I’m a young adult (secretly very large toddler) making more life-altering decisions, and while I may be stressed, I’m holding on to these memories with everything I’ve got.

A professor recently told me, surprisingly casually, that I should expect to experience a period of depression and identity crisis after I graduate. She said this casually, I’m assuming, because it honestly just makes sense.

College is a shockingly-lenient time when we’re surrounded by people (mostly) all about the same age and we’re all allowed to stumble around, mess up and pick up the pieces of our rapidly-changing lives in solidarity.

We’re like newborn puppies learning to walk, tripping over our own paws and all while professors and future employers gaze at us from the pet shop window saying, “Aww, they’re still learning.”

And then, right as we learn to stand on our own, we innocently meander into our last semester and we’re supposed to have “our lives together,” a “personal brand,” a “professional image” and “you probably shouldn’t proudly call yourself Captain Struggle anymore, Allison.”

I may not know who or where I will be in the next couple months, but you can bet I’ll one-woman stampede across that stage on May 14 and I’ll be on to bigger and better different things.