By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer
(Editor’s Note: After graduating from EKU on Saturday, Seth Littrell came to work Monday at the Richmond Register as a reporter/photographer.)
This past Saturday weekend I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with my bachelor’s in journalism.
It was the single goal I had been working toward for the past four years, and as I walked across that stage I realized I was the first person in my family to do so.
I was filled with pride, as well as excitement. The day was perfect, well, aside from the freezing wind and cloudy skies. Not only did I get to see four years of hard work pay off, I also got to hear the First Lady of the United States speak at my commencement, which certainly doesn’t happen every day.
Now, nobody was as ready to graduate from college as I was, you can ask anyone who knows me.
I didn’t party too often, wasn’t particularly fond of any of my classes, and as much as I loved it, I was downright tired of the seemingly endless work I had to do at The Eastern Progress.
That’s why I was so surprised by the bittersweet feeling and nervousness that came over me after the graduation ceremony was complete.
When I walked out of Alumni Coliseum, I was immediately taken back to a memory from two weeks before. My friends and I were taking a break from newspaper work, sitting around a table outside the Combs Building. Those of us who were smokers were burning through cigarettes. We were all about to graduate, and were talking about our excitement, our worries and all the other feelings that come with a fast-approaching, life-changing event.
Everyone else at the table was worried about what the future would hold. None of us knew exactly what we wanted to do with our lives, and a couple of my friends were outright depressed by the thought of leaving college.
I wasn’t however, and I couldn’t understand why they were. I was ready for the change. I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted to, but I had a job lined up, and I was confident that what I had learned would help me stay afloat until I did figure out what my long-term goals are. I was the anomaly of the group, waiting for the big day without a care in the world.
As I was driving home though, the feeling hit me hard. It wasn’t the fear of not having a job or not having dreams, it was the dread of the unknown. I finally had the time to imagine what my life was going to be like from now on, but I couldn’t fathom a world without classes and homework and studying for tests.
Suddenly, I had no idea what was going to happen next, and it was all I could think about. I spent the rest of the weekend with friends having fun, but it was in the back of my head the entire time. After my friends left my apartment Sunday night, I tried to go to bed but couldn’t sleep because of it.
I was incredibly nervous when I got up Monday morning and began getting ready to go to my new grown-up job for the first time. But now that I'm settling in, the dread is starting to fade away.
I’ve realized that, for me at least, life really isn’t going to change too much. I was already living on my own, already paying bills and handling all the responsibilities of independent life. Actually, it's pretty great to have full-time employment, since doing random odd jobs and campus work pays barely enough to live.
So my message to my friends, if any of them bothered to read this, is that the fear is natural. That doesn't mean you should let it get the best of you though.
Just like every other major milestone in your life, this is going to be a leap of faith, faith in yourself. But if it’s any consolation to you, I have faith in all of you.
You’re all incredibly talented people, and I know without a doubt that each of you are going to leave your own mark on the world.