Graduation

The end of an era – so clichè. But since we just survived the Mayan Apocalypse, it’s fitting.  On December 21, 2012, the day the world was supposed to implode, I graduated college.

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The Claassen clan at graduation

While I will not miss waiting in 111 mph winds (yes this is real) for a bus full of disgruntled students wearing pajamas to class, only to be paired with these peers in the inevitable group project, I will miss school. I am not afraid to admit that for the most part, I liked school. While there was plenty of whining, and fretting, and confusion over the future, there were also impassioned instructors, fixed breaks, extremely intelligent and motivated students, and the hopeful energy that we would all be millionaires following an entrepreneurial success upon graduation. While this final fantasy has dissipated, the instructors and friends I met in school have certainly left their mark. For this, I am eternally grateful. Everyday, these men and women stand before a group of barely-not-teenagers who gaze blankly back at them in silence when they pose even the simplest of questions. On bad days, there are even snorers and droolers. I’m sure the high pay makes up for all that nonsense. But to each of those professors, one of to whom I owe the existence of this blog, I say thank you for persevering, because your enthusiasm, encouragement, and criticisms have made a significant impact on many lost college students, like myself.

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Professor Engel, glad he finally got rid of me

In honor of graduating, I seek to answer the two questions that are the worst nightmare of every college graduate. You can spare a recent grad the pain of rattling these off – I assure you most will answer as follows.

Do you feel different now that you’ve graduated? No

What are your plans after college? I don’t know

Deep down, we all know these answers will not suffice. Of course we’re proud to have graduated. Yes, entering the real world is scary. We’re now much more appreciative of that month off for Christmas, which is now one day. We may not remember most of what we crammed into our heads the night before an exam, but a few life lessons certainly stuck with us. As for myself, I frequently attempt to answer as above. But for those actually curious, here is the much abbreviated long hand version of the nightmare questions.

Do you feel different now that you’ve graduated? If you’re asking whether or not I feel more like an adult, the answer is no. I’ve spent much of my 22 years under the safety blanket of the student schedule, and I have very little idea how to function in the “real world”. However, youthful confidence can go a long ways. I’d like to think I’m decently responsible, my parents taught me the value of manners and writing thank you notes, I no longer cower at the thought of speaking in front of a group of people, and my case study evaluation skills have improved dramatically over the past 4.5 years. This should get me somewhere, right?

What are your plans after college? I will be rock climbing for a short while, perhaps 1.5 years. This could change. My antsy and impatient nature will not lend itself to just climbing, so I will try to be creative and find non traditional ways to use my marketing degree, ie. not work at a desk. I have no plans to live in my car. I would like to work with non profits focused on young kids, not particularly related to climbing. I would like to learn from cultures across the world, and I think kids have a unique and honest view into their own cultures. Eventually, I would like to attend grad school, but need to figure out in what field first. This leads back to the shorthand “I don’t know” answer.

As for the immediate future, on Sunday I’m headed to southern Spain to explore Albarracìn, El Chorro, and a few random crags along the coast. More on that soon!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, or whatever holiday you may have celebrated. Happy almost 2013!

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Pre Christmas Eve service at the Claassen house

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