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by Ryan Thornton, staff writer

For many people, graduating from high school meant independence, not necessarily freedom because it also meant more school. Attending a university is another journey, somewhat like high school, that most students want to conclude as soon as possible.

Graduating from high school was a big deal, so, I thought initially, graduating from a university should be a huge deal. However, as it approached, I realized my feelings about graduation had changed. I’m not just turning 18 or getting a driver’s license. This is it. This is reality. I really have to grow up. After all these years of wanting it, now I feel sad that I tried to rush it. Talking to my classmates, I discovered I was not alone.

“ I thought that I wanted to get into college and get out as soon as possible,” said Alex Hadwin, “but now that graduation is almost here, I feel unprepared, almost scared to be out on my own. Things are not as clear as they used to be. This time last year I knew what I wanted and now I just don’t know what I want anymore.”

Another graduating HPU student, Emma Reimers, said, “I don’t know what I am going to do after graduation. I have a plan to study a little in Mexico over the summer, and I am looking into graduate school only because my parent’s won’t support me if I am not in school. [Unless] I am in school learning something, I am completely on my own,” she added.

Hadwin and Reimers, like me, both had big deal high school graduations, and both thought they had finally gained their independence.

“ My parents bought me a car when I moved here to attend college,” said Reimers. “I wanted to be independent my whole life, and I couldn’t wait to get out of high school. I was so sure when I graduated I would be happier without having to answer to my parents all the time. I also thought after I graduated from college, I would be out in the world, making real money, my own money. But I never thought that I would be scared of losing my parents support.”

Hadwin agreed: “I had been excited about graduating from college because in my head that meant a lot of different things: a different life, more money, traveling, and being freer than I was even after I graduated from high school. I never thought that I would be scared. I never thought that I would miss my family and their support. I never thought that the idea of being on my own wouldn’t be so thrilling. As graduation was near, I thought everything would be clear for me, but somehow it just gets foggier.”

On May 17, HPU graduated its largest class at the Spring 2006 Commencement at the Waikiki Shell. Ready or not, 750 students were released into the world. If they are fortunate, they already have a job, or they have already been accepted into graduate school.

Personally, I am one of those who doesn’t have a plan after graduation. I am hoping that I will be accepted into graduate school, so that I will have another couple of years to think about it.



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