The beginning of the end

By Emily Williams, Features Editor

My last first day of school is quickly approaching. After eighteen years of being a student, of turning in assignments, sitting in lecture halls and regurgitating information onto a sheet of notebook paper or a scantron, I will graduate from Murray State and conclude my education experience. I will take my last exam, turn in my last assignment, complete my last class project and enter into an entirely different realm of expectation and accomplishment.

I am excited to be a graduate and to be moving on to this new and exciting stage in my life, but I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t scared. I think if we’re honest, all of us experience at least a little bit of anxiety and hesitancy when we face changes of any sort, but that doesn’t mean we’re cowards or that the change to  come isn’t a good thing. It just means we’re scared. It just means we’re human. The problem is when the fear, the anxiety and the uncertainty of the unknown keeps us from moving on. We have to believe that good opportunities will come our way post-college and we can move forward boldly into our future anyway, even when we’re not sure what the next twist in the road will reveal.

When I was an elementary education major, the phrase “always be learning” was thrown around a lot. Our professors emphasized that this was one of the most, if not the most important aspect of teaching and an art that came from years of experience within that field of work. I believe “always be learning” can be applied to all areas of work. You’re never finished growing, maturing or learning, not just in your career but in your relationships, pursuit of self-growth and understanding of the world around you.  

There will always be something new to discover, a skill to master or a difficult person you must learn to love and work well with. It’s my own humble opinion that we’ve never truly ‘made it’. Whether you’re in college or the ‘real world’, whether you are eighteen or eighty, whether you are a first-time employee or the CEO of a large company, we all have something we’ve yet to learn.

So if you’re like me and this is your last semester, or maybe it’s your first and you’re scared of the new journey you’re embarking on, here is the key: one foot in front of the other. While we can’t see the bigger picture we are stepping into, we can see what’s right in front of us. While we can make plans and schedule interviews and study and prepare all we want, we never know what life will throw at us, or where we’ll end up.

So enjoy the moments of uncertainty as well as the moments of clarity, because they all serve a purpose in leading you to your ultimate destination. In my college experience, I’ve learned a lot. But the most important lessons I’ve learned haven’t necessarily come from textbooks or lectures. They have come from ‘real life’ issues like heartache, ever-changing relationships, anxiety, self-discovery, stress management and building a good work ethic for yourself.

It’s those lessons, the priceless ones that come from seemingly tedious and silly tasks, that teach you who you are. When you’re frantically trying to meet deadlines, figuring out how to fold a fitted sheet, guessing at how many minutes you can cook the rice before it burns, learning that sometimes that friend just needs you to sit there and be quiet while she cries, it’s there that you learn the good stuff. The stuff that you take with you after school. The stuff that teaches you to prioritize what’s important, treat people with kindness and respect, remember who you are and always be learning.