Carrying on: Insecurity of the unknown

March 20, 2013

Among Georgetown seniors, the conversations tend to get a little repetitive—who did what with whom at Tombs last night, who’s going to Tombs tonight, how awesome it is to be a part-time student so you can go to Tombs every day for 99 days, you get the idea. Among those conversations, you’ll frequently hear anxiety-inducing comments about “the real world,” a place that nobody wants to go to but everybody knows is rapidly approaching. At this point in the year, however, this conversation is confined to a rapidly shrinking population of senior Hoyas, namely those of us who haven’t found jobs for next year quite yet.

In theory, college is supposed to prepare you for “real life.” After almost four years of it, I can say with certainty that I have absolutely no idea where this theory gets its credibility. Aside from no longer living with your parents, the college world bears no resemblance whatsoever to the one where you have to get up for work every morning and come home every evening. There are no such familiarities as a spring/holiday/summer breaks, homework, and Georgetown Day, where pulling all-nighters and wearing lacrosse pinnies and using every even minor holiday as an excuse to get drunk off of vaguely festive liquor are no longer acceptable forms of behavior.

The interesting part is that, aside from the select few who plan on attempting to treat their graduate school experience as Georgetown round two, these changes are going to be there for all of us. But there’s a reason why the sighs about graduation and becoming a real-live adult aren’t heard from the masses who have already signed their hiring papers at PWC. Although we try to mask it under a fear of having to pay taxes and go to sleep at a reasonable hour, it’s not growing up we’re afraid of—it’s the unknown.

For the majority of the Georgetown senior population, up until now our lives have been pretty stable. At the beginning of every January, we could give you a rough outline of where we’d be during the next year. Sure, summer plans could sometimes be up in the air, but there were only a limited number of options, and come September we always knew we’d be back in a classroom.

Even during that hectic college application process—which, in retrospect, seems like a stroll through the goddamn park, with all of its hard deadlines and coaching from guidance counselors—most of us at Georgetown knew that we’d be going to school somewhere. It was just a matter of figuring out where. We were going back to school, just like we always had, and seemingly always will.

I learned quickly about this pervasive fear of the unknown when, in February, I turned down the first real job offer I got. There were a lot of factors that kept me from wanting to do it—a salary that was hardly livable for DC and far less than what many of my peers are going to be making, work that seemed cool at first but would doubtlessly get mundane in a matter of weeks, and the requirement of wearing horribly unflattering scrubs to work every day.

But, the decision took me weeks, and even after I’d realized all of the reasons why this job wasn’t the right fit for me, so many parts of my indecisive mind wanted nothing more than to take it. Taking it would mean being done with the nerve-wracking, time-devouring, confidence-annihilating process of applying and interviewing for jobs, in which you’re asked to tell somebody all of the reasons why you’re amazing and allow them to decide if you’re telling the truth. If I’d taken this job, I could be done with the application process. I could stop going to career fairs, stop refreshing Hoya Career Connection as frequently as I do Facebook, and start going to Tombs on Monday nights with the rest of the Blessed Ones. Wouldn’t that be the life?

The temptation was much stronger than it should have been, given that the tradeoff was three months of comfort followed by two years of boredom, frustration, and ramen-noodle dinners. But it was more than just a job offer—it was an offer of sureness, of knowing where I was going to be come August, just as I have for each of the past 21 years.

That lack of security in your near future is the real reason for fear of graduation. Because, from the looks of it, the real world doesn’t actually seem so bad. It’s a world of work, sure, but also of more disposable income than ever before, of no homework or papers or studying, of 5 o’clock happy hours without the guilt of weeknight drinking when there are things due the next day.

I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds a hell of a lot better than gossiping about who was DFMOing at Tombs last weekend. Maybe, once we all get over our fear of the unknown, we can be ready and excited to burst the Georgetown bubble open for good.

Read More

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments