Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Plusses and Minuses of Graduating

I've been in college for seven years.  That means, including kindergarten, I'll have had 20 consecutive years of school when I graduate this spring.  That's a long time.  Finally finishing up and moving out into the real world means a huge amount of change for me, and I've been thinking about that a lot lately.  For the most part, I'm incredibly excited and wish the semester would just hurry up and finish.  Here are my lists of my pros and cons of graduating:

Plusses of Graduating:
  • Having a real income.  I've had tastes of this on an off for years now, but I've always had to save the majority of what I made for the times when I was working at all or wasn't earning as much.  I had to make sure that tuition and living expenses were taken care of during those times.
  • No more homework.  I'll be honest.  I don't do much of my homework on evenings and weekends.  I'm generally so exhausted when I get home that I just cook some pasta for dinner and veg out.  On the weekends I'm busy with other things.  That doesn't change the fact that I'm supposed to be doing homework then.  Even if I know I have enough time to get it done any way, I feel guilty about not doing homework or studying because I really should be.  So not having homework doesn't necessarily free up a ton of time (though there are definitely weekends when I have to lock myself in the computer lab), but it will relieve a lot of stress and time pressure.
  • Paid vacations and sick time.  I never feel comfortable scheduling weekend trips or longer ones during the summer because I never know in advance what my schedule will be like.  Will I have a big test I need to be studying for?  Is that group project going to be do the following Monday?  Will I be interning somewhere and unable to get away?  Being able to take time off without that stress and guilt will be nice.
Minuses of Graduating:
  • No more reset buttons.  I love that I get a fresh start every four months with a new schedule, new classes, and new professors.  When things get frustrating I know that there's a limit to how long I'll have to deal with that particular issue.  I will definitely miss that.
  • Moving.  Since I already have a job lined up in another state, I know I'll be moving when I graduate.  It will be hard for me to leave all of my friends here.  I kind of hate meeting new people.  Knowing that I've already met most of my coworkers and get along with them helps some, but everything else will still be so new. 

10 comments:

  1. Congrats on having a job lined up! I have been out of school for 5 years now, and just went back to grad School part-time, so I am experiencing the same thing you are just in reverse!

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    1. Good luck with grad school! Finding a balance between work and school takes some effort, but it's really worth it if you can keep up with both.

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  2. The biggest adjustment form school to work is the lack of vacation to look forward too. You just go and do the same thing.... FOREVER!!! Bwa-HAHahhahahaa!

    Just kidding, you'll love it!

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    1. I don't see why I would need to adjust to a lack of vacation. While I am generally able to take about two weeks around Christmas right now, I don't get a break at any other point in the year. I'm either in school or working. I would much rather trade some time at Christmas for a couple of long weekends elsewhere in the calendar.

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  3. I know how you feel - I got out of grad school in 09 with about the same amount of schooling behind me. It's good that you've already got a job lined up so you dont have to worry about that, but enjoy the time in school. Even though you feel like there should be loads and loads of new free time, some of it may never materialize.

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    1. I'm not really expecting to have more free time so much as fewer responsibilities during nights and weekends. Being able to schedule that time with things of my own choosing rather than homework and studying will be enough.

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  4. No reset button? I don't think that's quite true, but it just costs more to reset now. Fresh starts are usually possible at some price.

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    1. Yeah, but the price for a restart every four months is way too high.

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  5. Don't look at that last "minus" as such a negative. Yes, moving itself is a headache, but starting fresh in a new place (how's THAT for a reset button??) is exhilarating!

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    1. Maybe for you, but not everyone is the same. I know that I will eventually find my groove there and be glad it happened, but for the next year or so it will be my largest source of stress.

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