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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Confessions of a graduating senior

    Allison Dumkacolumnist
    Allison Dumka
    columnist

    In the past few days, I’ve been recovering from my crazy weekend. Besides the Homecoming game and the All Souls Procession, I feel deflated by the realization that I will be graduating in May – joining the ranks of UA alumni who were drinking at 8 a.m. Saturday. While there’s nothing wrong with a little early morning boozing, my tired brain kept thinking, “”Have I done enough to prepare myself to get a good job?”” I don’t have senioritis. I have graduation anxiety.

    My recently graduated friends secured fantastic positions for themselves – within Teach for America and environmental think tanks and on Capitol Hill. They’re practically the poster children for the UA graduation rate (“”We don’t graduate a lot of ’em, but we graduate ’em good!”” could be the slogan.) I feel incredibly proud to know them. I also wonder if I’ll be as successful in the daunting and unexplored territory of potential cross-country moves and negotiating salary packages. The American job market offers no guarantees.

    Seeing these friends motivates me to go to class, do my work and reading, and move closer to graduation. I think about these friends and their new, “”grown-up”” lives in new cities, using their newly acquired degrees and making positive changes in education, politics and the environment. This simple fact makes me feel slightly better when I’m in the pre-graduation doldrums. If they can do it, I can do it.

    Another reason for my graduation anxiety is the sheer number of people who have graduated before me. Most of my high school graduating class is done (thanks, Facebook!). I know banal people who don’t know why they chose law school. I know amazing people who are taking time off to do research. I also know that I won’t see any of them on campus again.

    As I complete my fifth and final year of college, fewer friends are still in school. I never thought my last year of college would feel lonely. It goes back to the handful of friends who have graduated – the space between their lives and mine never felt as large as it does when I walk on campus and sigh (again) over the atrocity of Ugg boots. My friend Courtney, who I used to depend on to sigh back, now lives in San Francisco and does what I can only imagine are big, grown-up things that have nothing to do with judging shoes.

    Despite anxiety and a little loneliness, I don’t feel overly anguished about the actual process of getting my degree. Getting that vital piece of paper, the diploma, and leaving the UA will coincide in my life, but the diploma part isn’t stressful. I actually feel confident that I can do something positive with my degree. I love what I study and I know what I want to do. It’s the process of finishing a four-and-a-half-year personal project and leaving behind a much-loved city.

    Over the weekend, a sort of pre-nostalgia (feeling misty about things I haven’t even parted with yet) grabbed me. I began feeling depressed about events I may not experience again, like the All Souls Procession, or Homecoming weekend – which I don’t even like, anyway. Despite the general bad logic of pre-nostalgia, I can’t help pre-missing what I love about Tucson: the random bike parades, the circle of creative people, the great food.

    Even pre-nostalgia has its limits, however. I won’t miss hearing the awful rendition of the fight song playing at noon every day. I won’t miss crappy union food.

    I will miss the awesome professors I’ve had, and amazing people I’ve met in my last four-plus years. At least I have one more semester to deal with graduation anxiety … and who knows? Maybe you’ll see me drinking at 8 a.m. next November, clad in red and blue.

    Allison Dumka is a senior majoring in political science and women’s studies. She can be reached at
    My recently graduated friends secured fantastic positions for themselves – within Teach for America and environmental think tanks and on Capitol Hill. They’re practically the poster children for the UA graduation rate (“”We don’t graduate a lot of ’em, but we graduate ’em good!”” could be the slogan.) I feel incredibly proud to know them. I also wonder if I’ll be as successful in the daunting and unexplored territory of potential cross-country moves and negotiating salary packages. The American job market offers no guarantees.
    Seeing these friends motivates me to go to class, do my work and reading, and move closer to graduation. I think about these friends and their new, “”grown-up”” lives in new cities, using their newly acquired degrees and making positive changes in education, politics and the environment. This simple fact makes me feel slightly better when I’m in the pre-graduation doldrums. If they can do it, I can do it.
    Another reason for my graduation anxiety is the sheer number of people who have graduated before me. Most of my high school graduating class is done (thanks, Facebook!). I know banal people who don’t know why they chose law school. I know amazing people who are taking time off to do research. I also know that I won’t see any of them on campus again.
    As I complete my fifth and final year of college, fewer friends are still in school. I never thought my last year of college would feel lonely. It goes back to the handful of friends who have graduated – the space between their lives and mine never felt as large as it does when I walk on campus and sigh (again) over the atrocity of Ugg boots. My friend Courtney, who I used to depend on to sigh back, now lives in San Francisco and does what I can only imagine are big, grown-up things that have nothing to do with judging shoes.
    Despite anxiety and a little loneliness, I don’t feel overly anguished about the actual process of getting my degree. Getting that vital piece of paper, the diploma, and leaving the UA will coincide in my life, but the diploma part isn’t stressful. I actually feel confident that I can do something positive with my degree. I love what I study and I know what I want to do. It’s the process of finishing a four-and-a-half-year personal project and leaving behind a much-loved city.
    Over the weekend, a sort of pre-nostalgia (feeling misty about things I haven’t even parted with yet) grabbed me. I began feeling depressed about events I may not experience again, like the All Souls Procession, or Homecoming weekend – which I don’t even like, anyway. Despite the general bad logic of pre-nostalgia, I can’t help pre-missing what I love about Tucson: the random bike parades, the circle of creative people, the great food.
    Even pre-nostalgia has its limits, however. I won’t miss hearing the awful rendition of the fight song playing at noon
    every day. I won’t miss crappy union food.
    I will miss the awesome professors I’ve had, and amazing people I’ve met in my last four-plus years. At least I have one more semester to deal with graduation anxiety … and who knows? Maybe you’ll see me drinking at 8 a.m. next November, clad in red and blue.

    Allison Dumka is a senior majoring in political science and women’s studies. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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