The Unspoken Fear of Graduating

That’s right. Graduating from college will be one of the scarier things I’ve done in my life.

Not a lot of seniors are willing to admit that they are afraid of graduating.

Most people see graduation as the final step before entering the real world, but what if you’re not ready for the real world and the choices it has for you? What about the people you’ve met in college? And all that you’ve been through? Are there things that you’ve not learned or have yet to accomplish?

These are questions I’ve asked myself over break and even with my New Year’s resolutions, I’m not sure what the future holds for myself.

Then I came to a realization: NO ONE IS TRULY READY… AND THAT’S FINE.

Coming to Iowa State University was a decision that made the course of my life better. Like you, I had to mull over universities and decide which was the best for me. Most of us never sit back and realize that coming to a university is a blessing and a privilege. And for that I am forever grateful.

With that decision, I was growing up and participating in something that not everyone gets to accomplish. The real world is riddled with decisions and we may never know the eventual payoff. Choosing where you live, how to handle your finances, your occupation (or occupations if you like to have more than one job like me), and your friends are at the core of preparing you for the real world.

Speaking of friends, companionship is something that makes college worth it. You’re probably worried that your friends in college will be like the ones you made in high school. My response is it doesn’t need to be like that.

In college, you and your friends can follow similar career paths and be intertwined in your work efforts. You can plan to live in the same city/state. Your friends can be in your life just as much as you let them, just like your high school friends. It all depends on how you continue to better that relationship.

From the clubs you’ve joined to the times you’ve sung “Sweet Caroline” to your heart’s content to the road trips home and back, friends have made that possible for you to enjoy. They have created memories that you will hold dear.

To the friends I’ve made while attending Iowa State, you are dear to me and have forever bettered my life. I hope you’ve learned as much from me as I’ve learned from you. I won’t say I’ll miss you because you’re always with me in my thoughts in all I do.

Your college experience will be different from the person seated next to you. Remember that no one can stop you from accomplishing anything. I’ve been listening to motivational speakers and to quote Les Brown, “you don’t have to be great to get started, but you need to get started to be great.”

We may never master everything, but we can become a jack of all trades. Try to learn something new everyday.

Graduation isn’t until May for me, but the same smile I have in this picture will be on my face this May.

That smile to me says, “I may be afraid of what life has next, but I won’t let it keep me from being the best me I can be. Look out, world. Malik Newson has a lot ahead of him.”

Hopefully, I see all of you in May, cheering myself and my fellow graduates on as we make this next great step.

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