Student graduating.

Graphic by Daniela Sosa/The Paisano

Sunday, Dec. 16th may not be an important date to many of you, but to this semester’s graduating seniors, it is of the highest significance. Commencement is a celebratory milestone, the beginning of a new chapter and the distancing of another. Your time, experiences and knowledge gained at UTSA are memories that should be cherished, good or bad.

Your first moments on the UTSA campus were met with excitement and anticipation about where this new chapter would take you. You received your free “Class of 20–” shirt and decided whether it was still cool to wear after the end of your freshman year. You tried out different campus organizations, made and lost friends and hopefully found a career aspiration.

You’ve faced rain storms, hail storms – and because of the growing parking shortage – the terror-filled shuttle rides. No two UTSA students have the same experiences or share the same sentiments, as not all graduates are excited for commencement and only participate in the spectacle for their family. For many college graduates, this isn’t the end and they don’t find the four-year bachelor’s ceremony to be a necessary event as they begin a new degree plan. Those returning students may be attending law school, medical school or returning in the spring to start their master’s or doctoral degrees.

Excitement has grown as we close-up our last semester of the college chapter. Some of our chapters may not be finished, but for many of us they are. Every good thing comes to an end, but a new beginning is on the horizon. While this chapter ends, we start to scratch the surface of what awaits the next one.

Many of us express deep sadness and fear as commencement grows near. We’ve been told our whole lives that college is the “best time of your life,” so as that time ends, are we approaching the worst time of our lives? After the time of joyful, stress-free childhoods and the stressful-yet-electrifying college years, what adjectives and adverbs await us next?

For many of us, school-life is all we have ever known. We wake up, go to class, come home, do our homework, wake up and repeat for an average of 18 school years. Saying it’s finally over is overwhelmingly hard to accept. How can it be over? We only just started.

These feelings are normal, and as we feel sad, we must remember what joys proper adulthood will bring. Soon enough our depression and anxiety will decrease, we’ll have time for self-love and we’ll be earning money we’ve only dreamt about.

If you’ve played your cards right in your college years, you’ve hopefully added at least one internship to your resume, or garnered enough experience to earn a full-time job right out of college. Never settle for anything you aren’t passionate about, and never allow the opinions of others take away your dreams.

So, as you move your tassel on Dec. 16th – either in-person or on your own – acknowledge what it represents. It represents your academic achievements, conquered hurdles and vanquished growing pains. We are turning the page, or tassel if you will, as we enter and approach adulthood.

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