To be utterly lost: Confessions of a scared, second-semester senior

Lost, oh my how I am lost beyond belief.

“What are you doing in May?...Have you thought about what’s next after graduation?...So have you got any sort of job lined up?...Are you REALLY staying in Utah?”

The questions play in my head, as I spin on a chaotic carousel round and round just trying to cling on for life. April scares me. It is like a recurring nightmare that seems to haunt, like Trump winning the presidency.

I have 68 days until Westminster is no longer my home. I have 68 days until I have to leave the comfortability of being a student… and you know what? That scares the absolute hell out of me.

I wish I could be a student forever. I am in love with this sense of security and community. Here, within my comfortable student life, I can grow and make mistakes.

As a student, you have endless opportunities and a built-in community with a booming plethora of things to do. At Westminster especially, it gives you a home and a niche. The small liberal arts college gives you all the warm fuzzies of small class sizes and tiny major cohorts.

April 30 looms in the near future, encroaching like it’s here to sink my Battleship.

April 30, I will cross the stage at the Maverik Center, marking my transition from student to alum in a matter of a few steps. I will no longer be a learner here. I will be 21 years of age, standing among my peers trying to figure out the elusive, “What next?”

It feels as though I’m losing a part of me. This place has been a piece of me for four years. It has defined me.

“Oh, so what do you do?”

The question casually hurled out, whether it be on the chairlift, at the pub or at a community dinner.

Like clockwork, my answer is, “I’m currently a student at Westminster College.” 

I like my answer. Student. I like being a student. I like being at Westminster—I feel safe here. Student is something that everyone immediately smiles at you for. Pair student with Westminster, and Utah locals smile even bigger, most of the time.

I’m a student. I am secure in that title. I’ve been a student for the past 16 years of my existence, from pre-K all the way to my college senior year. I know how to be a student. I can function and know my role. I know what is expected of me and how to succeed as a student.

I am blessed that I get this extraordinary opportunity of higher education to learn, grow and hopefully do well.

Yet, I am scared. So, so scared.

Even the safety of things like Westminster was included in the 2016 “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck,” according to the Princeton Review.

Or lopping stats like Westminster graduates with a bachelor’s degrees make $49,800 median starting salary, according to PayScale.com and the Princeton Review.

My stomach still quakes, and I go full panic when asked, “What’s next in May?”

Well, I’m adopting a dog, I think. That’s my answer. My stupid, stupid answer. Yes, I’m graduating and then immediately going to get a dependent being to help aide me in my time of transition.

I might as well drag this furry pup along my emotional crisis of job searching, heavy life decisions and  finagling how to pay off the debt that NelNet now holds.

A puppy, a piece of paper and debt of around $21,000...bring it on.

Sitting here now in my office, I am going to miss running around campus. I will miss loading my schedule to the brim. I will miss my conversations with peers in classroom settings, or readings—really good readings that incite debate and conversation. I crave a good debriefing.

But most of all, I will miss my comfortability as a student. I hope that I can apply my drive and cravings to learn more about the outside world.

I am blessed that I have been able to gain this experience. Education is something to be cherished. These past four years have taught me more than I could ever imagine. Now I have 68 days to soak up as much as I can.

Cheers to forever being a student, whether I be sitting in a classroom or learning out in the real world. I am forever a student of life.