Like many college seniors, the most frequent question I have been asked over this past year is, “what are your plans after graduation?” As innocuous as the intent may be, this question is often loaded with anxiety-inducing expectations and assumptions. Just as going to undergrad has become a seemingly required next step for most high school seniors, so has the prospect of attending grad school become increasingly expected of most college seniors.
Of course there are logistical reasons for attending graduate school immediately out of college, especially if someone is working towards a job that requires a higher level of education. Students who are focusing in specialized fields often want to get their schooling done as quickly as possible so they can begin working in their
desired field as soon as they can. Other students genuinely love school and want nothing more than to continue their journey. These are both great reasons to continue on after undergrad into higher learning, and the choice to go straight into graduate programs is ultimately up to the individual.
Though I love school and do anticipate receiving a higher degree at some point, I am excited to take a gap year (or two!) before I continue on to grad school.
Most college students have been in school since pre-k. For a senior in college, that’s around eighteen years of schooling with summer and winter vacations as the only break time in between the otherwise monotony of being a full time student.
When I did the math, I realized that for most of my cognizant life, I have been chained to the schooling system. While I am grateful for the opportunities that my education has provided me, I have fallen ill to the burnout many students experience as a result of being in an organized educational process for so long. I know that I am in desperate need of a break.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, these past two scholastic years have looked different than ever before. Though things are slowly returning to a kind of normalcy, I am not confident that schools will be completely back to normal at the start of the fall term. I want to make sure that when I return to school, the inconveniences and hardships COVID has created will not plague my academic endeavors anymore.
Although I do anticipate going back to school at some point in the near future, I am excited to take the next year or two to figure out just who I am outside the four walls of a classroom- for most of my life it’s all I’ve ever known. I am excited to read because I want to and not because I have to for some class. I am excited to write about things I’m interested in with no deadlines or due dates. More than anything, though, I am excited to see how my education has formed me, not just as a student, but as a person.
I should hope that the purpose of my education was not to keep me bound to the confines of the classroom forever. I hope instead that my education has equipped
me with the proper tools to be a student forever, not just of the classroom but of the world around me.
I can’t wait to begin this next chapter of my life. I hope to catch up on some much needed rest, read more fiction, travel, and work on some non-school related projects I’ve had to place on the backburner for a while now. And then, when the time is right, I will reenter the classroom to continue what has never really stopped: my education.