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Opinion

Future graduates cannot hide from unclear futures

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February 28, 2008

There is a five-pound gorilla in my room. I’ve carried it around with me for the past four and a half years, from one house to another.

I’ve tried everything I can do to avoid it. I’ve stuck it in the corner, covered in the assorted junk that sits around my room. In the end, I’ve accepted my hairy friend; I’ve grown to love the responsibility of the gorilla and have adapted to its strange smell.

I’ve grown so fond of my roommate that I’ve given him a name: graduation.

I know that the end of February seems to be an odd time to be worrying about graduation, but measured against the four and a half years I’ve spent here on campus, it seems like an impending disaster.

I’ve been afraid of graduation since I enrolled at the University. For much of the first few years here I was here the kid from Whitewater.

When I was writing for my high school paper, I wrote about embracing high school as long as a student could. Now as I see the end of my college career approaching, I’m having similar feelings. For as nervous as I was entering the University, entering the real world is no different than moving to India.

Most of my apprehension revolves around getting into a career. I’ll be graduating with a degree in political science and international studies. I can tell you about the current state of affairs following the Russian parliamentary elections, but is that a marketable talent? Thanks to Career Services, I have a well- rounded resume. It’s well-padded and makes me look good, but am I ready for a career?

One of my roommates, Nate, is a fellow graduate of the political science program. He is now selling insurance. I don’t begrudge Nate and his insurance selling skills; he’ll probably make more money in a year selling insurance than I will in my entire life.

Insurance doesn’t excite me the same way international political systems do; maybe I am a nerd. One of my other roommates, Connor, is spending the semester student teaching.

Teaching is a career which has always intrigued me. I know the pay is not stellar, but teachers get off for almost every holiday on the calendar. I was shocked to see Connor on my way to class on President’s Day.

President’s Day. It’s not even on a president’s birthday. What do you do on President’s Day to celebrate the most powerful man on the face of the earth? I guess you have furniture sales.

The problem with teaching is the mornings. Many of my professors can attest to my daily battles with the clock. To be honest, anything before 10 a.m. is a little hit or miss for me, mostly miss. What is there to do for a poli-sci major?

In “Travels with Charley,” John Steinbeck writes about his burning desire that people believed would be cured with age. While I’m not sure that my fear of the next big steps in life will be cured with age, I know that I will enjoy the ride.

College has been the most fun I’ve had in my life, but it’s time to move on. I’m the oldest one in many of my classes, with the exception of the non-traditionals. Many of my fellow classmates weren’t even in high school when I graduated five years ago.

The time will come, ready or not, and I’ll be done with school. Adulthood and responsibility are things I can’t avoid. I think it’s finally time I ask my friend the gorilla to leave.

Joe Eggers is a fifth year senior from Appleton, Wis. He is a political science and international studies major. He has been involved in several activities on campus, including a stint as last year's Student Senate president.