The last semester, a stressful time for many of us

Holy crap, it’s my last semester.

The New Year holds the beginning of change, a fresh start to either a fulfilling year or one we’ll wish to forget. For most students, it’s also the last 13 weeks of our university careers. This is when we’ll try to figure out what our future holds in between papers, projects and preparing for life outside school. It’s also the last chance to enjoy the student life we’ve been accustomed to. Figuring out a post-university life has now become a priority for many of us.

Last semester, as I walked out of a lecture halfway through and headed downtown to clear my head, I realized I’m graduating soon. Overwhelmed, I realized I needed a plan. “Holy crap, this is real life,” I thought. I don’t want to keep working for minimum wage or worse, end up dating the guy who watches porn for a living.

When in school, we beg and hope that the nightmare of studying will end. Ironically, we beg and hope to return to that type of lifestyle the minute we’re in the “real” world. Unprepared to do anything except hope for the best, we are reassured by the knowledge that we can always go back and get our Masters. There are some who are unprepared for the transition to the outside world and I refuse to be one of them.

I’m applying for grad school and looking into photography jobs, (I’m a creative writing major and a freelance photographer). I could travel or move out of the city as I don’t have any debts (a rare thing to hear from a student). These are options, because let’s face it; we don’t know what the future holds. Not in nine months, six months, three months, let alone the next week. No one has the answers to the many questions we students are bombarded with each day. We must have a plan or else there will be too many carbon copy versions of my friend Jack.

Jack is an idealist, a political science graduate who would get As in his sleep. He enjoyed his full-time student life, (even though burdened by student loans). Jack wanted to achieve more after life as an undergrad as he wanted to go for his Masters degree. However, someone forgot to tell Jack what to do after university and before grad school. Rather than apply for internships or anything in his field, Jack found himself as something students fear once they’re outside the Hall building: lost and disoriented.

An idealist would only think for the future and not for the present. The student loans were catching up and rent is high in the Mile End. It took him weeks to find a job he would not enjoy.

This was hard on his girlfriend who was working and still in school. She was watching the self-destruction of a bright student, living in the Mile End where no one cares whether your GPA is over 3.5.

Actually, no one cares about anything in the Mile End.

Jack would talk of what he would be doing in a year’s time. However, had he started to apply for grad school? Does playing video games, loitering at his girlfriend’s workplace during her shift and discussing foreign policy issues in Middle Eastern relations (while drunk) have any relevance to completing application forms?

Jack knows what he wants in the future but in the present, he is being an idiot. He even borrows money from his girlfriend, who is being supportive.

She then got dumped as his disorientation into the real world worsened (the idealist in him didn’t see her suited for marriage and children). At least she’ll know what not to do come graduation.

What will happen to us after we leave Concordia? I know one thing as I’m bombarded by papers and photos; I’m going to need a plan.

Because when I do get that precious piece of paper I’ve worked hard for, I know I don’t want to end up doing “Jack shit”.


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