Oberlin Blogs

The end is nigh

April 25, 2010

Chris Gollmar ’10

There’s just a month to go until I walk across that stage in Tappan Square and hear the magic words: “I confer upon you the degrees of bachelor of arts and bachelor of music.” (Or at least something along those lines.) I imagine my mind is more-or-less in the same place as every other soon-to-be graduate of this institution: neither here nor there, lost, scattered…

A few weeks ago I met with music theory professor Brian Alegant, my one-time Fundamentals of Music Theory IV instructor, to interview him for a short story I wrote for The Oberlin Review about his department’s upcoming move into the Kohl Building. Before we got into any of my questions, he asked me a now-familiar question: “So what are you doing next year?”

I hesitated. I had just been rejected from Teach for America (which is probably for the best) and was at a loss as to what direction to go from there. “I don’t know,” I responded.

Mr. Alegant asked, “Are you in the abyss?”

The abyss. What an excellent way to describe that particular feeling of uncertainty that seems to plague so many of my classmates. We can so easily describe our long-term career goals, but when it comes to the here-and-now (or the five-weeks-from-now, as the case may be) things grow noticeably hazy.

Yes, I am in the abyss.

Senioritis doesn’t exist in college the same way it does in high school. At least among myself and my college-bound peers, there was no need to put much thought into our immediate futures those last few months of high school. Sure, securing a summer job was an important matter, but that’s not a particularly high-stakes thing. Frankly, graduating from college in this time of economic struggle worries me somewhat. Will I be able to find a job that interests me? Will I be able to find a job at all?

Yet I know Oberlin has afforded me an excellent education, and I have grown personally and intellectually in the past five years. The abyss isn’t actually that deep or dark. For now, the future is definitely on my mind, but I’m focusing on eking the last bits of education out of my Oberlin career that I can.

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