Journalist Tom Brokaw once said, “You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”
I know I’m just one person, but I want to play a part in changing the world. For this to happen, though, part of me needs to change. Graduation is a consequential benchmark. It’s when I leave the world of education and begin my career as a working adult. Graduation is not necessarily a hard deadline for change, but it is one that marks an important transition.
So what does this change look like? While lame and small-sounding, I should probably revise the way I dress. My Brandy Melville wardrobe needs phasing out, pronto. I’ve been dressing the same way since high school, and I’m tired of being mistaken for a Boston University Academy student. I am a full-fledged adult, and I need to be treated as such.
I’m not saying I’m going to start wearing blazers around town — even though my mom would prefer me to — but I need to start dressing more appropriately. That means investing in pieces that function well in the workplace but also transition to weekend fun.
It means not buying five different tube tops that all look identical. I’m undergoing major life construction, and my closet should be, too.
I also need to change my relationships. Let’s get one part right: I love my friends. Without them, my life would be much less navigable. I once lived for three months in Boston alone and without knowing anyone.
I spent all of my free time quietly sitting in my room, listening to podcasts. There’s nothing wrong with having some alone time, but it’s nice to have people around that support you whether you’re elated or depressed.
When it comes to friendships in the past, I’ve adopted the idea of quantity over quality. After graduation, I’d like to spend more time with friends who are more meaningful rather than continuing loose friendships that aren’t worth the maintenance.
It’s not necessarily that these friends are bad people, it’s just that I’ve grown as a person, and our puzzle pieces don’t fit perfectly anymore. Some people aren’t meant to be friends for life, and that’s OK.
Many people, myself included, struggle with self-confidence. For me, this is especially true in the professional context. For the past four years, I’ve indulged in the intern mindset. That means catering to everyone in the workplace, taking on grunt work and being extremely timid with authority.
All that ends now. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work full-time next year at the startup at which I’m currently employed as an intern. Once I begin full-time, I am determined to project my poise more.
It won’t necessarily be easy adapting to the dramatic changes in my life, so even though I welcome this change, I also hope that a big part of me will stay the same. After all, I made it this far with the way I am now. I want any changes I undergo to add to me, not take away.
To the Class of 2019, I hope you experience the good kind of change. I hope you can take the better you, apply it and change the world. On May 19, I will be happy and sad, crying and laughing, experiencing a beginning and an end. I think I’m ready for it. I hope you are, too.