Graduation: The Aftermath

-

The following is a column from Kyra Kruger, an intern with WestfordCAT. To submit your own column, e-mail asylvia@westfordcat.org

This weekend social media was bombarded with posts of white and maroon gowns, creatively decorated hats, diplomas, and friends celebrating both the end and beginning of an era. It is only fitting that as so many graduates enter “the real world” (or at least get a little closer to it) I take another step on my own journey towards adult life.  Just one year ago it was I who stood on memorial field in cap and gown.  It was I who wiped my sweaty palms on my side before shaking Mr. Antonelli’s hand and accepting my diploma.  I was excited, to start a new chapter, to get out of a small town, to gain some independence, and so a year later, it is strange to look back and compare my feelings and expectations to reality.

Me: The intern and somewhat adult
Kyra Kruger

First off, you’re probably wondering, who is this strange person with clammy hands who has suddenly highjacked WestfordCAT’s blog? Well hello, my name is Kyra Kruger, lifelong resident of Westford and recent survivor of freshman year at Villanova University. This summer I have the opportunity to intern at Westford CAT in their news department, an attempt on my part to give myself some experience in the ever elusive, and certainly adult “Business World”.

At Villanova I am a hopeful French/English double major with the dream (us kids always have dreams) of becoming a professional writer.  Now I know what you’re thinking, “languages eh? I hope you enjoy living at home…” And I get it, but my response is, call me when you make as much money as J.K. Rowling, also I love my parents very much.

But in all seriousness, I don’t deny writing is a harder industry to break into than say engineering.  But that is why I was so excited when I found out I got this internship, an opportunity to hone my skills, gain experience, and give me a leg up on the competition.

So as I scrolled through Instagram this weekend, I was reminded of how far I’ve come since I walked across the stage, and how far I still have to go.  Graduation is a big day in everyone’s life.  It is, in my opinion, the first real step towards independence.  It means, higher education, moving away from home, the military, or joining the workforce. In a way it means graduation from childhood. It means adulthood. Or does it?

When I graduated I felt like I was finally going to finally start the important part of my life.  Everything up to that point had been practice, training for the big event, and I was finally ready for my debut as “Kyra Kruger: Adult and Real Human Being.” I was going to study international politics and single-handedly fix the world.  What really happened was a little different.

Not only did my career aspirations change, but to my surprise, I wasn’t really an adult either.  “Young adult” is what society called me.  A term that is as accurate as it is frustrating.  For half of the year I was primarily independent.  I went to bed when I wanted, ate when I wanted and scheduled my life according to my own judgement.  For the other half of the year, I went back to being a child.  I still had a curfew, still slept in my parent’s home, still ate my mom’s cooking, still had to ask permission to go to a friend’s house.  College, when I thought about it, was the strangest place on earth.  Mainly, it is a place of limbo.

For the most part, we are left to our own devices, but in the end, we are not quite trusted to enter the real world; we are protected from harsh reality by the cushioned walls of classrooms.  This is what brings us back to the dream, the thing we young adults all have in common.  It is a necessity, the idea of something more, if four years and $60,000 worth of tuition is to be worth it.  Our dreams are what get us through the 3 a.m. study sessions, the sub par food, and the “this test is worth 70% of my grade” anxiety.  We protect this dream well, with both the cage of our chest and the belief that if we fight hard enough, study long enough, we will be the ones to make it, we must be the ones to make it.

We are encouraged to take advantage of our lack of responsibility, but then reminded that as adults, it’s time we took some responsibility: to pass the class, to pay for school, to get a job.  WestfordCAT is another step for me towards this responsibility.  It is a place where I can learn and grow, continue previous work and start new things I never expected.  This blog is just one of the many opportunities I will have this summer to start chasing my dream: sharing my thoughts with the world.

So here I am, both young and an adult, still unsure of which is more important. But at least I, like all of the newly graduated, am on my way.