By Robin Bakker
I can’t believe that 16 years of schooling has led me to graduate college early and I don’t even get to walk across the stage to prove any of it. Instead, I get to see my name scroll across a screen to show that I finished school and can go out into the adult world.
Earlier in March, I felt bad for the seniors who found out that their last years were cut short and their graduation was cancelled. My first thoughts were actually how glad I was to not be in their position. I guess this is the work of karma now that my graduation is the same as theirs.
Freshman year, which seems like an eternity ago, I made the decision to try and graduate early. As much as I wanted to study abroad, I thought to myself that I would rather get schooling over with. However, over this past winter break, I started to look into going abroad again. My main focus was to go to London, and to avoid having to actually get a big-girl job.
I had found the perfect opportunity to intern in London. I could get some credit for it and it would only be a few weeks but I would have been able to go in the Spring just before graduation. My mom was all on board for me and even got excited about coming to visit. I had until September to finish applications and forms so I didn’t worry about them until I went back home for quarantine when I had nothing better to do.
I had an interview and more forms to fill out before I was fully accepted to go. It was one of the happiest moments for me of 2020. And of course, I jinxed that. Just as I was approaching the deadline for sending in the deposit, I got the email from UT stating that all study abroad options for the full school year were cancelled. My heart dropped to my stomach. But, I read carefully and it also stated that if the program itself isn’t canceled I could still go and just have it not be under UT.
I had some hope. I emailed my advisor for the program and she told me that I must have not gotten the email because my internship had also been canceled. When I was at a point in my life where nothing had gone right, it felt like it just kept getting worse.
I had no idea what to do. I am already taking 18 credits this semester but need 22 to graduate. I am surely not taking a whole semester just to take four credits, so I made the decision to take a winter class for the last credits and graduate early (if possible). I got accepted for an internship this semester and will hopefully get all the credits I need to finish school by January.
The only step after graduating is to be a part of the adult world. I am deeply terrified. This internship that I had lined up was supposed to be similar to what I want to do with my life. I was going to see if I just wasted the past four years in the wrong major. I was supposed to get connections in my field. It was going to look great on my resume.
I have always tried to stay positive on things and look for a bright side, but for this, I come up with nothing. I just see myself after a crappy virtual graduation with no idea what to do with my life and where I am going to end up.
They say everything happens for a reason, but I really wanted to do this internship in London. If I don’t end up going to London in the next few years to make up for this, I’ll be pretty upset at the universe.