Brutally Honest: A harsh game called life

Denny Patterson

Remember playing the game Life as a kid? It seemed so easy. All you had to do was spin the wheel and watch your future unfold. Options included getting married, having kids and launching a career which led to retiring in a luxurious estate. Those were good times, weren’t they?

We all dream for our lives to wind down the same path. Although life is a game, it isn’t the pleasurable past time we all hope it would be. Realistically, it can be a slap in the face.

Seniors, this is it. You are about to embark on your last spring break as a college student. Once we hit March 18, you will have a quarter of a semester left. Graduation is going to be here in a blink of an eye, and it’s going to be painful for many. Take a moment and reflect on these past four years. Think about the mindset you were in once you stepped foot inside the Milli-Bubble. Fresh out of high school, the world was now yours. Away from home and on your own, college life was in the palm of your hand. Now that time is dwindling down, the big question that’s lingering in the air is: what’s next?

A good majority will take the next step within education and continue on with graduate school. A good majority of you will also think that “I’m done with school; it’s time to find a job.” Lastly, a good majority of you have no idea what’s next.

I personally belong in the last group. I will be graduating this December, but I have no idea what I want to do once my time here at Millikin is over. A part of me wants to continue on and pursue a master’s degree, but another part of me wants to find a job and get on with life. It’s a confusing and frustrating process. Life isn’t only harsh, it’s petrifying. We might be on our own and away from home, but we still have mom and dad to go back to when the times get rough. College is only the beginning process of leaving the nest. Once graduation is over, a whole new chapter is about to begin; your own nest will be waiting for you sometime down the road. Sure, you can go back home to mom and dad, but neither you nor your parents want you to be that 30 year old living in the basement.

Once someone goes to college, they are like a seed. Think about it – a seed’s only job is to grow. We don’t get a choice on when we are born or who our family is (although, I know some wish they could). We do, however, get the choice on where to go to college. We get to choose where we want to grow at. The person you see in the mirror is the result of these past four years. The growth and development you overcame has made you into the person you are today. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. Every choice you have made has affected you in some way, and every choice you make will do the same.

It’s going to be a liberating feeling once we walk across the stage to receive our diplomas. There will never be a wrong step as long as you try. Don’t let the harsh game of life stop you. I know I’m not the best person when it comes to optimism, but that’s exactly the mindset you will need to succeed. There’s no doubt about it.

Play time is up. The game is over. Reality is here, and your future awaits.