I realized the other day that if I count preschool, kindergarten, 1st-12th grade, four years of college, and one year of grad school, then I have been in school for NINETEEN consecutive years. That means next year will be my 20th year. It may also be my last school year—or, at least, my last consecutive year—depending on if/when I decide to get a Ph.D. My 19th year of school taught me some really important things. I thought I'd share them with you.
1. Sometimes your car battery will die in a McDonald's parking lot when you're supposed to go to a doctor's appointment. Then, because you don't know where the doctor's office is, you'll have to run there using the GPS as a guide. Then later you'll have to wait 2 hours for AAA to save you. But it's nice when a friend shows up to wait with you. :)
2. Living in an apartment is cool and stuff, but you can't have many pets. So it's a really good idea to get a Betta fish. First of all, they live forever. (Mine has been alive for over seven months.) Second, they don't mind if you name them after a famous communication scholar. (Mine is named Judee K. Burgoon). Third, they can survive a 13-hour road trip inside a water bottle. (Twice.)
3. It's all fun and games until your professor falls out of his chair onto the floor in the middle of class, and you have to try really hard not to laugh.
4. Katie (my sister) is a really fun roommate. If I'm ever sad, she can ALWAYS make me laugh. We can talk about anything. And I can always count on her!
5. Sometimes you enter a contest to win Casting Crowns concert tickets and somehow know you're going to win. Then you win and go to the concert.
6. Grad school research proposals are surprisingly similar to science fair. If you went to high school with me or ever did science fair, you'll know what I'm talking about. Background research paper, question, hypothesis, experiment, results, etc.? Yeah, that's kind of like introduction, literature review, methods, results, conclusion. Just when I thought I was done with science fair, I, like, wasn't. Life is weird that way.
7. "Grown-ups" don't know what they're doing, either. Although older people can advise you because they've been where you've been, they're still experiencing stages of life for the first time, too. Everyone feels inadequate sometimes, and a lot of people really are just making it up as they go along. It's easier if you're a Christian, though, because you can search for God's purpose in your life rather than just feeling lost all the time.
8. A 25-minute commute is a great opportunity to pray or learn every single song on the radio.
9. It is pretty easy to read two to three hundred pages in a week. Reading the equivalent of a novel every seven days seemed crazy at first, but now those 20-page reading assignments I got in undergrad just seem ridiculous. I think I learned to read faster. I also think about 12.7% of my brain is comprised of information about scholarly communication articles now.
10. Post-grad can be really cool. Just because I'm done with college doesn't mean I have to be boring. I mean, my boss laughs at my stupid jokes. Road trips are still the bomb-diggity. Sometimes I stay up until 4 a.m. Sometimes I eat ice cream for dinner. And tax returns are awesome. That, too.
Bring it on, 20th year of school!