Photo - Courtesy of City College of San Francisco
Photo – Courtesy of City College of San Francisco

What seems like years of stu-DYING, sleepless nights and binge-eating that have resulted in weight gain and permanent eyebags are all rewarded at some point. As we come closer to the inevitable date of graduation –– and as the realization kicks in–– graduating Highlanders begin to prepare themselves for what will be one of the most liberating moments of their lives.

It’s nearly impossible to miss the anxious-yet-overly-zealous buzz circulating among students as commencement speedily approaches. My heart clenches with both excitement and sorrow for those moving on without me each time I come across an entourage of students picking up their caps and gowns or individuals posing with their stoles for graduation photographs. It’s difficult to cope with the reality that yet another class will be departing to the real world to pursue their dreams.

“I can say that buying the cap and gown and getting ready for the commencement has made me a bit nervous for the real world,” expressed fourth-year linguistic and Spanish major Luis Angeles. It is no surprise that with commencement being a few weeks away, seniors feel evermore relieved, yet restless over what to expect of the post-grad life. After you have received your diploma, indicating that your undergraduate college trek has come to an end, what’s next?

Fourth-year Spanish major Gabriela Bobadilla reveals that she “will be focusing on finding a graduate-level job in youth organizing, a theatre company or higher education.” She continues, “I plan to take a year or two off before getting my master’s degree. Or I might just move to Buenos Aires and teach English and never come back.” Although many students struggle with the question of what comes after receiving an undergraduate degree, Bobadilla believes that there are plenty of options but stresses the importance of staying aligned with one’s own self-interests.

Fourth-year Spanish major Gabriela Bobadilla believes that it can be useful considering numerous options but stressed the importance of staying true to one’s interests Jeffrey Chang/HIGHLANDER

Perusing your options by getting involved in different programs and clubs on campus will ultimately assist you in deciding your post-graduation path. Campus involvement is not only beneficial toward your social life but can also further your leadership skills and motivate you academically.

“My faith and my family have been great motivators that influenced my actions and decisions at UCR,” reveals Angeles, emphasizing the significance of establishing a motive behind one’s academic and professional goals. He also explains that one should not be solely focused on the monetary compensation of work but rather the satisfaction one receives when helping others.

Fourth-year linguistic and Spanish major Luis Angeles credits the satisfaction in helping others as the motivation that students should strive for when looking for a career.
Fourth-year linguistic and Spanish major Luis Angeles credits the satisfaction in helping others as the motivation that students should strive for when looking for a career.

While reflecting on what now seems like the long gone and historic college days of the past, Bobadilla advises those still enduring the struggle of college to simply show up and be present. It is especially difficult to do so during the last year when the very real epidemic of senioritis hits. “It can be very easy to get cocky and say, ‘Oh I can do this work’ because you’ve taken harder upper-division classes,” shares Bobadilla, “ But you still need to do all of the busy work even though you’re a senior taking ‘easy’ classes!”  

Now that our seniors are nearing the finish line and senioritis has become the last of their concerns, it’s understandable for them to feel rather bitter-sweet about college and graduation. Angeles’ focus now lies on “finishing what (he) started with the people (he) started it with.”

Upon the inescapable date of graduation and in preparation of the endless tears to come, Angeles urges UCR’s ongoing students to enjoy their final years of youth. “It’s the small moments that you spend with others that stick with you for a lifetime. Whether it’s staying up with your friends (while) studying at the library during finals week or hiking to the ‘C,’ these are moments that no one can take away from you.”

It’s no joke when they say that your college days as Highlanders really do fly by, so make the most of it by getting involved and discovering your passions while you still have time; don’t ever forget to cherish it.