There are two questions of commencement:
1. What are you doing next year?
2. How are you feeling?
The job search, in this economy, is very difficult. It causes a lot of stress for graduating seniors who aren't set up with something by commencement. Given the recent strains in journalism, publishing and academia, a lot of upcoming alums have difficulty getting jobs in the fields they want.
It's not a dead-end, but it takes longer than normal. More students are moving into entrepreneurship and starting up with new companies. There's a silk-screening collective start-up, a Chinese learning software company, a music clinic for kids, and a fair-trade Moroccan crafts business.
Environmental studies majors get more luck with the swell of green jobs. Given the billions in stimulus funds given to science research, biology, chemistry, neuroscience, physics and engineering majors (in total, about a third of Obies) are sitting pretty.
I just got a job for which I'm incredibly grateful and happy. And I'll talk about soon, I promise.
And it's not a job like this:
Yeah, I don't think it'll be like this.
As for the more difficult "how do you feel" issue...
Everyone takes Commencement differently. Seniors run though several different emotions:
1. Joy! No more papers! No more tests! No more cramming! It's beautiful and there are parties with cool people whom I need to say goodbye to!
2. Sorrow. Where are all my friends going? Should I live with my parents? I'm going to be so lonely...
3. Bliss! I'm ready for the real world! College was amazing, and I'll continue the things I learned here way out there!
4. Anxiety. The real world is scary. People are mean and cruel. What will I do after I get out of work?
5. Confused. I don't know what to feel. I'm going to miss Oberlin, but I'm okay with my plans.
6. Everything All At Once. Like below comic.
While other folks have had the time to feel/think about graduating, I really haven't. Between organizing another circus (we do a commencement show), finishing up a Creative Writing Anthology (Little Leaf), going to functions and freaking out about how cool my job is going to be... I haven't really been self-reflective. Surprised?
Savage Chickens understand me. Even if I don't really understand me.
But I'll try.
College has been better than any other time in my life. When I think about who I was when I arrived here, and who I am now... there's a huge difference. I am a fundamentally different person now. I met amazing people, learned great things, made many stories. I grew up in Oberlin. That's something that doesn't change when finals are over, or during Senior Week, or after I throw my cap into the air and hug all my friends. That change lasts for years.