384 days left of childhood, what’s next?

I have one year left of childhood. One single year, and then I’m heading for the real world. The big, scary adult word that, as a child, I dreamed of being a member. But now I’m terrified, stomping on the emergency brake as hard as possible. I don’t want to grow up now that I have 384 days left of reckless irresponsibility. What’s even scarier is I’m still a junior; I can only imagine how I’m going to feel exactly one year from now. What will my emotional range be then?

When I first started college, I constantly told myself it was a four-year gateway preparing me to do whatever I wanted; now, I see my friends graduating, getting jobs and marrying significant others, and I’m scared. How is it that I am about to be qualified as a real-life adult in the real world with a real job? One that I’m not quite sure I’m qualified to do no matter how much experience I have? In all honesty, I’m not sure there is an answer for these spellbinding questions.

I try to imagine my post-undergraduate life, but I have no vision for the future. I have a small idea of the general things I want to accomplish with my life, but I have no idea where I will be, what job I’ll have, who I’ll hang out with on the weekends, or what my life off the clock will hold. I get it: change is exciting and fun, but what about the fun I’ve had at Tech for the past two years? I’m leaving behind so many memories, only to be replaced by another group of incoming freshmen that will feel the exact same way in four years’ time. It’s terrifying.

As I move into my senior year of college, my time spent in Cookeville feels sentimental and nostalgic. I will never have the same schooling experience again. Ever. I will never be surrounded by this many of my peers again, suffering through the same classes or pulling those late nights, just to redo the same project the next morning. Over the summer, I had a corporate desk job, and I found myself surprisingly lonely. I don’t want the rest of my life to be that way. That’s terrifying.

As of right now, the only answer I have is to embrace my diminishing childhood. I have 384 days left, and I plan to make the absolute best of every single one.