Tess Stevens is a senior at Ohio University and is pursuing a BFA in Acting and a minor in Journalism. Tess has appeared in 6 Ohio University theater productions, has released an album on iTunes and has been published in newspapers, poetry anthologies and by various news services. Tess is an avid musician, writer, actress and autodidact. Tess plays golf, loves baseball and performs in plays, musicals and various music ventures. Tess believes in working hard, being yourself and not following a path, but making your own.
The word “Senior” can be poison to many. While it represents the most experiences, or most established people, it also represents the ones on their way out. Whether it be of school or of the ultimate end to life, “Senior” represents a destination.
Standing on the apex of this, the final year of college. Many emotions are experienced on a daily basis, but mostly I’m just tired.
There are days when you feel like you’ve been in school so long that there will be no end. Fast forwarding to your salad days as a responsible filing cabinet professional can be all that leads you through. Other days are cherished with the coming of a school-exclusive experience like Homecoming or football season. But what happens when you’re not involved in these things?
What are the alternative experiences you’re missing? Walking down the street like you’re a shadow instead of the human it follows is exhausting. One day, the trajectory of life will turn. You’ll wake up, in your parent’s basement wondering why you wasted 80 grand. What is the true cost of our education? Our souls, our minds, our time, our bodies, our wasted headspace, the forgotten images of home that we push so far away that they don’t even seem real anymore?
I’m sure these thoughts find you when you’re walking into that 9am class that you find superfluous. When the words of your favorite musicians make a bigger impact than your highly educated professors, I’m sure these thoughts find you as well.
We’ll never know if we chose correctly, going to college that is. I had a thought about dropping everything driving to LA with 2,000 dollars and giving it all away to my art, my music, my acting, my soul. But I then realized that my soul was gone. I gave it away long ago. In pursuit of perfection, of excellence, of societal acceptance, we give away our humanity.
On the other side of the wall, we may find that we’ve fallen completely off it. Or maybe those internships we searched for and all the shitty jobs we took left us on top of it without even knowing.
Aside from these soaring metaphors and indistinguishable images we can find peace in a few different things. Some choose alcohol, others drugs, some even choose to bury themselves in work, but the ultimate conclusion that can be drawn from all of these things is that we’re fucked.
It just depends on what we do with the fact that we’re fucked, that matters.
So when you put on that graduation cap in the Spring and realize that you’re fucked, that your debt, if physicalized could bury you a mile underground, that you haven’t respected your parents enough to return home, that you’re ashamed of where you came from and have no choice but to go back, that your worst fears of failing big after 4 years of servitude to the academics is real, is when your real choice becomes clear. Will you choose to let these things bury you? Or will you choose to dig through, put in what’s left of your soul and breathe in the smoke, in fact thrive in it until it becomes you?
What is the real decision after college? It may be to live or to die or it may be to continue the search, for excellence or maybe…happiness.