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Transitioning to a Life After College


Lia DeFranco '19
Lia DeFranco '19

Something I did not expect after losing the structure of school is that I would have the capacity to create my own. It seems pretty clear this needs to happen once a student becomes a civilian, so to speak, but I’ve always been passive and never thought I could change myself. 

Up until graduating in May, I had been in school my entire life. Even during summers, there is the feeling that the freedom and/or employment is temporary. Personally, I have plans to return to school sometime in the future but during the first few months of being a college graduate, I felt completely open-ended and lost. However, I slowly came to understand that while there were (and are) expectations from those around you and society in general of what one should do with their life, I had to make choices myself. While I was in high school and college, I felt as if I was being led through everything, which I’m sure is not the case for many or most people. Once that stopped, I decided to become an active participant in my life.  

I did not feel the full extent of the pressure to begin a promising career until after graduating, because I did not fully understand how anything works outside of going to school. And so now, although I worry all the time about my career and have frequent stress dreams about my teeth falling out, I am confident I can continue to make progress. This feeling is something I created within myself, from a starting point of very low self-esteem that I had throughout most of my time in school. It is important to conduct your own education after you leave school so that you don’t feel as if you’re stagnating, and simply because it’s imperative to find things that interest you. Once the fast-paced educational environment is gone, the void must be filled and you can and should fill it on your own. I like this saying:  “If you are the smartest person in the room, find a different room.”

My last semester at Hamilton, in terms of academics, was my best because I decided to apply myself more than I had in past years. I think many people feel burnt out or ready to move on, but looking forward doesn't have to take time away from applying yourself. Confidence and capability can grow from a place of emptiness at any time in a person’s life.

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