It’s not so much that I’m afraid to graduate, it’s that I’m afraid to no longer be a student. So if I could graduate and go on being a student, I guess that would be alright with me. I’ve spent so much time being done with school, being tired of school, being overwhelmed with school that it seems strange that I am afraid to be finished with school. But there it is: I am afraid to no longer be a student.
School is often overwhelming. It is often stressful, it often takes too much of my energy. But I love the structure of being in classes. I love having a professor say to me, “Read this book, Queer Theory, Gender Theory by Riki Wilchins and then we’re going to talk about post-modernism in class and it is going to totally change the way you understand gender and feminism and the way the world works.” (Thanks, Prof. Rina Williams.) I love when a professor says, “Draw a portrait of yourself every week. Throw ten cups on the potter’s wheel, with trimmed foots and handles, due next Tuesday. Make a sculpture out of wood. Write a poem every week. Write a short story. Rewrite a short story. Tell me what you think. Write about what you think. Listen to what other people think.” (Thank you, Professors Jenny Ustick, Nate Prouty, Matt Jones, Rick Wolhoy, John Drury, Jim Cummins, Don Peteroy, Z Nicolazzo, Lisa Hogeland, etc.)
I love the structure of co-curricular activities; Lutheran Campus Ministries at the Edge House (the edge house), the Racial Awareness Program (RAPP), and Women in Leadership and Learning (WILL). I have programs set up for me to learn about social justice and feminism with my peers, every week, every other week, for the rest of the year, for the rest of my career as an undergraduate student at UC.
And I don’t know what I’m going to do when I graduate. Oh, sure, I have some idea of what I’ll do when I graduate. I’ll probably get a full-time job somewhere. I will struggle to create art without deadlines, without structure, without critique, without a studio. I’ll probably move out of my current apartment. But where am I going to get my community? Where will I go on a weekly, bi-weekly basis to drink coffee and play board games, to talk about being a force of good in the world rather than a force of hurt? Where am I going to check-in about my life? Where will I learn about feminism? What will I do without the edge house, what will I do without WILL? How will I have community after I graduate?
Yesterday I was talking with my girlfriend and my closest friends about looking for jobs in Chicago, renting a house together, living our lives together. Is that too wild a thing to think of doing? I am 70% serious about it. Because what am I going to do without them? What am I going to do without my communities? What am I going to do without you?
Nat Kutcher is a fifth year Liberal Arts major and a second year WILLer. They are afraid to graduate in the spring.