Friday, May 18, 2012

Commencing Adulthood

By Stephanie Haugen '12

Haugen '12
Four years have passed quickly and tomorrow I graduate from Pacific. The day I never thought would get here has arrived and this dream still doesn’t seem like a reality.

With a week full of activities for seniors, I’ve met a lot of people I haven’t interacted with my entire time here and heard about a lot of things I never got the chance to do. Through it all, I’ve felt a little regretful I didn’t take advantage of every opportunity and satisfied with what I’ve accomplished at the same time. One day I feel sad it’s all coming to an end and the next I feel so incredibly light with happiness I can’t wait until it’s all wrapped up.

Although sometimes I wish I had done more, most of the time I’m satisfied with how much I have grown and how many new things I tried during my time at Pacific. The academics are rigorous and it keeps you busy. Especially living off campus, I don’t know if I could have done any more than I did.

One thing is for sure, though. I needed this experience at Pacific to develop into a person ready to leave here and try more new things and keep growing. Pacific pushed me. It pushed my limits and forced me to discover my potential both as a student and a person.

I thought the day I graduated from college I would officially be an adult, with a plan and without fears. Well, neither of these things turned out to be true, but I am ready for the next step. I’m not completely sure what I am meant to do with my life, but I’ve definitely ruled out a few possibilities, which is a start. I am excited to do everything I never had the chance to because I’ve been in school my whole life.

I’m going to paint, craft, draw, make jewelry, read for fun, write for fun, learn to wood work, cook, bake, sew, make soap, garden, get a job doing something completely different just to try it out, buy a bunny and maybe a llama. I am going to spend every spare minute outdoors and with the people I care about the most, many of whom I’ve put largely on hold these last four years.

It’s fairly terrifying graduating with your future wide open, but it’s also really exciting.

You can do anything you want.

There’s nothing holding you back or tying you down now.

You can do anything.

You can try anything.

You don’t have to stick around this area and you don’t have to worry about finishing your classes to get your degree and you don’t have to worry about setting your weekends aside for homework.

These were important things for four years, but that time has passed.

It’s easy to fall into something safe—something that will merely pay the bills or advance you along in a career path you think you’re stuck on because that’s what your degree is in or that’s what all your previous experience is in. But it’s never too late to entertain thoughts of a new life. Pacific has prepared you to be dynamic. Pacific has prepared you to be wide-scoping in your thoughts about yourself and the world, to be adventurous in your decisions, and to make the most out of the times in life that are short-lived but possibly the most influential.

The time has come to explore, to make those dreams you’ve been coming up with your whole life a reality. Don’t worry; Pacific has prepared you.

I’ve learned a lot of things at Pacific, but mostly I’ve learned that every stage before you should be better than the last. I should be growing and getting better at every stage of life.

I loved my time at Pacific, but I hope I never wish I was back in college.

I hope I never wish I could go back to these years.

I hope I never long for a time in my life that has already passed.

I hope I never feel like I’ve already peaked.

I hope whatever I do next and whatever I am at that moment will be better than the one before, and that I’m always moving forward to reach my potential and grow as a person. 

Haugen '12 was the Communications Assistant for the Office of Alumni Relations. You can follow her journey at Pacific through previous blog postings. Haugen is graduating with a degree in journalism and minor in English literature and was a member of the Phi Lambda Omicron sorority. She is keeping her next step open for anything and everything.

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