For seniors – Enjoy it while it lasts

Jill Morton, Columnist

Graduation is just three short weeks away. For seniors, the end of their time at UND is coming with with either dread or delight. Once you graduate, it’s time to go out into the real world where “adulting” begins.

Let’s be honest, the real world is kind of scary. No more leaching off your parents for free food. No more sleeping in just because you feel like skipping your weekly 8 am classes. No more freedom from responsibilities.

Now, I am in no way trying to claim that college is easy. With juggling classes and homework, trying to figure out how to live on your own for the first time and figuring out how to pay for everything on top of it all, college is a tough balancing act. Despite these challenges that we face as college students, I think that life after graduation will present a new set of difficulties.

College is probably one of the best times in a person’s life. There is the perfect amount of freedom versus responsibility ratio. When you’re a kid still living at home with the parents, you have very little responsibility. You might have some chores here and some homework, but generally, life is fairly easy-going. At the same time, you might not have the degree of freedom you would want. Especially by the time you get to high school, you may want to do a lot more than what your parents are allowing you to do. So, there’s little responsibility and little freedom at this time of a person’s life.

After high school, many students are encouraged to go onto college. Here, there is a good amount of both freedom and responsibility. You have more freedom than you have ever had in your life. You don’t have to wait for parental approval to stay up late on the weekdays or eat cereal for dinner. Compared to the rest of your life going forward, in college, you have very little responsibility. You do have classes to attend and maybe even a part-time job or internship but for most people, you’re only responsible for yourself. These days, most of us don’t have any children or dependents to worry about, giving you the ideal amount of freedom.

But after graduation, it gets rough. You still have a lot of freedom, but newfound responsibilities develop. You’ll eventually find a full-time job and eventually, as life progresses, you might even start a family and have to be responsible for more than just yourself.

If you think being a stereotypical cash-strapped college student is tough, money matters can only get more difficult after college. We will most likely no longer get financial help from our parents. Dreaded student loan repayments begin as we continue to put away our good, hard-earned paychecks on the essentials such as rent and food.

To make financial matters even more difficult, we will no longer be eligible for all the free stuff that being a student entails. No more free food at the union, free movie nights at River Cinema, or free football tickets to the Alerus Center. Now, we’re going to have to start paying for practically everything. As students, we’re actually pretty spoiled. Even with the smallest perks that we take for granted, like Spotify’s reduced student plan, are extremely helpful financially.

As the semester winds down and graduation approaches, I can’t help but be filled with more dread than delight. There are definitely perks and drawbacks to becoming a real, independent adult. But I would say that college is one of the best times of a person’s life in many ways. So enjoy it. Don’t get too stressed out about your final paper or exam. Hang out with your friends and enjoy the little moments because when the time comes, we’ll be forced with more responsibilities and the little freedom that comes with the real world.

Jill Morton is a columnist for Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].