Whenever I’m asked what I’m doing after I graduate, which is a lot recently, I usually feel a brief moment of anxiety. My answer is concise, practiced; I say that I don’t have much of a plan besides working at home to save up money, and then from there, hitting the road to travel out west.
This answer is met with various responses: My friends have teased me about sounding like a John Steinbeck novel, my parents’ friends have praised me for “taking advantage of being young,” but most often I’m met with a skeptical look masked by a “good for you” or a “sounds fun.”
Nearly at the culmination of four years studying English at Binghamton University — yes, I’ve heard all the jokes of what I can do with that degree — I still don’t have a clue what I want to do with myself.
Yet I truly believe that’s okay.
I’ve sat here for more time than I can afford trying to make this not sound corny, but I don’t know how, so here it is: I learned so much more in college than what I got out of my classes, and even though I’m not walking out of here into a serious job, I feel like I am prepared for whatever it might be that lies ahead of me.
Living away from home, meeting lots of new people and studying various subjects are all things that have helped me feel prepared for the future. But above all, one thing stands out, and that is this newspaper.
Whether it was spending countless hours in that dungeon of a basement, covering meaningless Student Congress meetings or arguing over headlines, I’ve learned a few things.
I’ve learned to work with others and to move past differences to create something truly impressive. I’ve learned to listen to a diverse range of voices and beliefs and to appreciate each one for what it is. I’ve learned that in the end, work is hard, but it should be because working hard toward a goal and achieving it is incredibly satisfying.
That is why I feel as though I am prepared for the future; I know that I will do what makes me happy and that I can succeed if I push hard enough. I don’t know where traveling will take me, where I’ll end up or what I will do with myself. But whatever that may be, it will be something that I’ll put my heart into.
Maybe I didn’t need college to teach me that, but it definitely didn’t hurt.
Gabby — you get the first shout-out, as promised. It makes me sad that I won’t be giving you any more rides up to Susq, or studying in the library with you, or texting each other while sitting a foot away. But we’ll stay in touch, I promise. I won’t go completely off the grid …
Alex, Brendan and Carla — you guys are all awesome and I can’t imagine working with better people. I learned a lot from each of you, all in your own ways.
Binghamton friends and roommates — I can’t list everyone, but you know who you are. From the Nature Preserve to the nursing home, there are a lot of memories I will never forget.
Mom, Pop and Emil — you guys are the best, and nothing I write here can do that justice. Thank you for everything.
The rest of Pipe Dream — it has been an honor working with each and every one of you. To those graduating, I look forward to hearing what the future brings, and to those sticking around, I wish you guys the best.
Pelle Waldron is a senior majoring in English.