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Looking Back on College

The tests donít stop once college stops. I am sitting in my room--in my parentís house, where I currently live--typing my college memoir. The campus wide graduation was a couple of weeks ago and it was bittersweet. I actually finished my degree in December, but waited until spring to participate in graduation. Walking into the Assembly Hall wearing my cap and gown and being personally congratulated by family, friends, and the White House Chief of Staff made me feel important, loved, and respected. Even though I had been out of classes for a semester, I didnít want to leave the graduation ceremony. For I knew as soon as I walked out of the Assembly Hall doors, I would be an alum, officially tossed out into the real world where implementing professorsí theoretical applications wonít get you more than an interview for a mediocre job followed by a rejection letter from a firm to which you are applying. Stepping outside of the Assembly Hall meant I had crossed a line of safety. Itís an invisible line but you feel when you cross it. College is safe. Granted we all get almost daily emails from campus police informing us of the latest attack on a student, but I donít mean safe in a physical sense. You canít get fired from college. If you fail, you get an F and maybe are forced to drop out and go to a community college for a year or two if you want to continue your education. The real world is not so forgiving. There are no TAs or professors holding office hours to consult you along your journey.

People have always asked me throughout my lifetime what I am currently doing. When I was in college, I proudly told people I was attending the University of Illinois and would graduate in a grand total of three and a half years. Being enrolled at a reputable school provided me with a sense of pride and dignity, and I felt little pressure from the off-campus world. Society expects very little from college students. Although many college students do hold jobs, society doesnít pressure youths within the collegiate demographic to work. College is seen as a time to socialize, go a little crazy, and maybe pick up a little knowledge from those dusty books along the way. Now when I get this question, my involuntary reaction is to sink a little, shift my feet, and tell the inquiring person I am starting my own landscaping and mowing business and living with my parents. I probably shouldnít feel ashamed of being self-employed. Starting your own business isnít anything to sneeze at and living with your parents for awhile after college is becoming rather commonplace. Maybe itís not shame but rather the financial uncertainty of the future. Perhaps my response also has something to do with the way we are brought up. Whenever we are in grade school, we are told we can be whatever we want to be when we grow up. You learn all the things you can do in the real world. Whenever you graduate, well, thatís the time you learn all the things you canít do in the real world. Government regulations and laws shape how you conduct business and tend to deter would be innovators and risk takers. All of a sudden, politics and the news become a lot more important than during your college days where the only relevant news comes across on your Facebook feed or Twitter account. Caring about bar specials transitions into caring about the bar exam. Walking down Green Street turns into hoping you make enough green so you donít end up on the street.

Even with the uncertainty, I am blessed to be in a relatively stable scenario. I am working, in good health, have a great family situation, and have quite a few God-given talents and abilities. But I remain nervous about the future.

Many questions loom, waiting to be answered in the coming years. We are all faced with these questions. Will I find someone to happily marry? Will I make enough money to cover the cost of living? Will I be happy with my job (or, for some people, even get a job)? Will I stay in good health? The list of questions goes on and on and takes on different variations depending on the individual asking them. With all the uncertainties, it is vitally important to have Faith. I hope my fellow graduating seniors and future graduates find work they are passionate about and either maintain or find happiness. And for those of you starting or continuing your tenure at the University of Illinois, remember to enjoy your time. Itís easy to get wrapped up in the stress of school. I know; I have been there. Take frequent breaks to appreciate the finer points of life. Enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend. Go to an Illini sporting event. See all the activities going on at the quad. Few of my best memories have anything to do with the classroom unless you count challenging my professorsí incessant global warming theories. I think back to the walks on the quad. Itís amazing to see so many people of the same youthful demographic in such a concentrated area. I think back to the girls I met. Some turned out alright, some didnít. At least I broke free of my shell and made some effort in the lady department. I think of the party scene and going to bars with friends. Even though I didnít drink, I still had a good time for the most part and again emerged from my shell a little. I think of the Illinois football and basketball games and the honorable Chief Illiniwek. Thereís a lot of great memories I reminisce about, and I hope you can someday look back fondly on your college years as well.

     Just remember: Although the tests donít stop after college, neither do the good times.
Are you a lost freshman or slacking college student in your third year and haven't garnered the courage to dive into a specific major yet? You have come to the right place for guidance. Here at, we give it to you straight.
Below is a list of college majors, what might be a goal of students in those majors, and what students graduating in those majors will most likely become after college.
What You Want to Become
What You will Likely Become
By Michael Holmes

Guide to Choosing a Major

Rice to Bertrand Backwards Alley-Oop

Hoping to see more of this against Penn State on Saturday!