3 thoughts 4 years after graduation

graduation

“I was such a mess.”
Four years ago I graduated from Arizona State’s journalism school.

Four years and one month ago I was in my Mass Communication Law professor’s office listening to him tell me there was no way I was going to pass his class. …His class that was required if I wanted to graduate. I couldn’t be angry at him. My visit to his office was a feeble attempt to see if for some reason he wanted to overlook my complete ineptitude and give me a B for no real reason.

I left his office and dropped his class, enrolled in a summer session of it, and changed my official graduation date from Spring to Summer, all within 20 minutes. This wasn’t the first time I had been a dumb student, so I wasn’t super phased.

It wasn’t until months after graduation that I came to a full stop in my brain and realized how close I could have been to needing to stay in school a whole extra semester. What if that class wasn’t offered in the summer? That would have been a significant wrinkle, to put it lightly.

“No one cares I was a mess.”
One week ago, my husband and I walked around ASU’s Tempe campus, and I felt alllll the nostalgia. I saw Memory Devin rushing from class to class, sitting at a table studying (or not), eating waffle fries from the MU and feeling like an utter maniac. Chicken, no head, that was me.

Instead of being irritated with Memory Devin for not getting her act together, I felt at peace. I knew the secret and wanted to whisper it to her, “Once you get the degree, you’re just an alum. No one cares about your moments of idiocy.”

Often I felt pained by myself in my undergrad years. Everything I wanted to do and had to do crashed together. I know now that I really did handle it as best as I could at the time, but in the moment I had my doubts.

“Skill is nothing without grit.”
I always wanted to be one of the students who had it all together. I came into journalism because I wanted to dive into writing, editing, and web design, not as an already savvy journalist. I was shy and hated asking questions. I had definitely not been the Editor in Chief of my high school newspaper. (I was homeschooled.)

After the first semester, people dropped like flies switching to Communications or English Literature. I felt the pull, but I had already decided that by God I was getting the degree, even if it was ugly.

And sometimes it was ugly. (Like that time I had to retake a required class in the five weeks after my senior year should have ended.)

But I learned so much from the overall experience that I wouldn’t change anything. Not only the classes and internships but the life business of getting the damn degree.

I hustled and pushed myself more in those three years than I had before, and in a fashion that I can’t any longer. It was a season of life that often felt unsettled, but it cracked open a lot of pieces that I’m still working on and thinking about today. And I like that.


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Also published on Medium.