Here, at the End of All Things…


“Hmm.” My first reaction after walking out of my last ever class. Not the reaction I was expecting.

Well, I felt obligated to my readers to really get into my “day-after” experience, once I was done with school forever. I have to say, it still feels a little bit like every other summer break I’ve had: You get done, you feel great, but not too great, cause you always have another year of school. You can’t enjoy the break because you always feel like you have to get something done. You always feel like something is due, or that you missed something. Even now, as I am typing this, I have anxiety that I may have forgotten to do something at school, or at my internship, for which I’ve been done two days already.

I have to say that the easiest way to put it is, It hasn’t sunk in yet. Not sure if it ever will. Seriously, I’m unsure. I mean, I’ve been in school my entire life. Let’s get some perspective. I started school, technically we’ll begin in Kindergarden, when I was 6 years old (I was one of the older students in my grade.) If we start the school year on September 1st every year and end roughly June 1st, (rounding out the years I ended mid-June, and college years when I ended early May) This means that I have spent roughly 18 years in the academic field (if you count Kindergarden academic, haha) Now stay with me here, One academic year (the year we determined, sep1-jun1) Equates roughly to 274 days, 6576 hours, 394, 560 minutes, and 23 million seconds. This means that I have spent 4932 days in school, 118 thousand hours listening to teachers, over 7 million minutes taking assignments, and 426  million, one hundred-twenty-four thousand,  eight-hundred seconds with the pressure, stress and anxiety that school creates. Let that sink in.

Hey Eric, you pointed out all the bad things and none of the good things.” Yes. You’re right poignant reader. Very observant.

I do want to spend some time saying this: School can be hard at times, and even seem stupid to others. A waste of time, and a life killer. Get over yourself. If this is actually what you think, put into perspective that without a high school diploma, you might as well be homeless, or selling drugs, or mooching off of someone for the rest of your life, or the jackpot; D. All of the Above. The American Dream? Take advantage of this “really incredibly hard time” for you, and understand that it is going to put food on the table some day. I don’t want to get into a whole other topic about bullying, peer pressure, drug exposure, or family lives, but I recognize that in some cases, school can be pretty horrible.

That being said, I’m glad that I have a plan, and some goals to accomplish before I move to Grand Rapids, and then to New Zealand later in the year. Still, my original point with telling you exactly how long I’ve been in school was to explain that this is normal for me. Listen, I’ve been doing THIS, for my whole life. I don’t know anything else like I know academics. Sad, but it’s very, very true. I just wrote over 90 pages this year in academic papers, and I’ve totaled my paper writing count IN TOTAL (and this took me an hour and a half to add everything up) throughout my 6 college years to 764 pages! 239 pages from Calvin College and 525 pages from Aurora University. This is a LOT of time put into something that I care very much about.

I wanted to convey to you, the reader, just what this journey for has been like. I hope that you now have some sort of idea what I have been going through these past 6 years of college, and I want to let my good friends know that I will be seeing more of you in the near future. Sorry for being a hermit, ha. I love you all, and I want to thank every single one of you. So come out to my party when I can thank you personally. Peace.

Eric Peterson

A New Chapter begins. The exciting thing? I have NO idea where it will take me…

You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feetthere’s no telling where you might be swept off to… –Bilbo Baggins

If you like my recent, “Important pieces in the world” style of writing, here are some other Proud Works that I have written up for you guys.

KONY 2012: An Unbiased Summary

Teenage Pregnancy at 70 year Low

Wordless, (on the treatment of women in the workplace)

Keeping Your Brain Healthy

The Id, Ego, and Superego Explained

Love Hurts…Literally.

Wind: The story you never knew.

Elevendy 11, 2011

FAT…otherwise known as “Insulation.” 

I used to listen to music on the Radio….

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139 thoughts on “Here, at the End of All Things…

  1. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m going to revisit yet again since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  2. Oh my goodness I read a couple of your writings you posted links to…you are fantastic! You pick excellent topics to write about and you’re writing style is very talented. All of your articles kept me interested the entire time I was reading. Keep up the good work!! (Also congrats on finishing school!!) =)

  3. Well I graduated a while ago, but believe it or not, it still hasn’t really sunk in to me that I’m in the adult world now! Keep having fun, and do what interests you, that’s the key 🙂

    I have a blog that may or may not interest you, it’s about getting ready to move to France, but also about how I bring over a group of my students to Europe every summer:

    http://www.living-in-languedoc.com

    Good luck with everything!

  4. Not all those who wander are lost….quote from Tolkien…or was it from The Situation. I forget. I graduated a long time ago – but I feel exactly like you do right now. That’s not to say I haven’t had moments of peace and clarity and “knowing” – they just haven’t been lasting. I did the love-marriage-kids (it was and is a blast). I did the job-as-life thing (it sucks, avoid it like a disease) Enjoy the the moments and good luck on all your treks!

  5. “Hmm.”
    I only say hmm because this is so different from the way it felt for me during my last few weeks in college. On top of my thesis, there’s the final stretch of exams and the annual org cultural presentation (which was a week before finals). I think it was days AFTER the finals before I realized there were no more classes to attend, that classes were over. I missed enjoying the last days of lectures and class discussions. 😦 That’s why I find this post refreshing. You seemed underwhelmed, which I think is an honest reaction. 😀 After spending close to two decades in school, you’d expect to leave it with…hmm…not “fanfare”, but something profound at least? But I think that profound thing — whatever form it would take — would come AFTER graduation, after your travels…or maybe during it.:) Good luck and keep your readers updated! 🙂

  6. Love the LOTR quotes (both of them!). Strangely applicable to real life, Tolkien quotes are. Congrats on finishing school and savor this moment of freedom!

  7. I finish university this month and it doesn’t feel real AT ALL! I don’t think it’ll sink in until the graduation ceremony, where I think I’ll feel a mixture of sadness and happiness, for having to move on and for the excitement the future holds. Bring it on real world!

    1. Go get it! It’s ours for the taking. As the days pass on, I am realizing more and more that this world is mine now. I just have to make something of it. It’s a choice to be productive, it’s a choice to make the most of it, it’s a choice to live life in the moments and to choose Love.

  8. The first thing that hit me when leaving college is , I never wanna see this place again in my life , 8 months later i still feel this way .
    best of luck wherever life may take you , if it happened to be in Germany , drop by my party .

  9. midlifemeg

    That feeling that you still have something to do is because you still have EVERYTHING to do! The good and bad part is that now you have to figure out what it is on your own, and schedule it on your own, and once you complete it, you have to evaluate it on your own! Or, find good friends to help with all those things. Daunting, yes, but you are in a fortunate place with everything ahead of you. I am glad to see your perspective and that you have a plan to take advantage of your youth. It is the lesson I most wish I could convey to my kids: your time feels HUGE right now, but it is still finite– live, live, live it.

  10. Good luck figuring life out! In the past 2 years since I’ve graduated, I’ve done and seen things I never thought I would (ended up in Madrid, Spain for 2 years!). And since I’m returning to the States in September, I don’t know where life is going to take me next so I’m in the same position at the moment. It’s an exciting and scary journey!

  11. Calvin College? You might know my best bud, Jeremy Jerschina. He graduated last year and I was near campus for his wedding a few days later. Really nice place with strange people.

    I’ve been struggling with this vacuum of not being in school for the past year. In a few weeks, it will be exactly one year since I graduated. At the time, I was elated. However, since then, I’ve missed school so much. It was a place of comfort, fulfillment, learning, as much as it was a whole bunch of other negative things as well. Eventually, however, I am sure we will all learn to cope without it.

    Good post.

  12. “Oh The Places You’ll Go!” . . . . . Dr. Seuss
    And remember ~ we can’t answer the question: “What was good about your day?” until the very end of that particular 24 hours. Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle.

  13. Congratulations and welcome to the next phase….I would say real life, but that started a long time ago, really. Now that I’m an adult (which I’ve been for a while but I really don’t feel much different from where you are) they just call classes ‘workshops’….and they become a lot more fun because you get to make the decision whether or not to attend. Best of luck to you! Be well and be happy!!

  14. sometimes it’s funny when you have already spent MOST of your life STUDYING. and then you feel that it is the ONLY THING that you are good at… i would like to know what your plans are after your studies.

  15. It is quite an interesting read and brings back college memory days that one never gets back.
    I like your Blog that you are sharing your life experiences with the world. I have also written a Blog sharing different world experiences from a very personal perspective.
    Please follow my Blog on http://www.patricblog.wordpress.com. I will put your Blog on my Blogroll. Let me know if you would like me to put yours on my Blogroll.
    All the best
    Patric

  16. Your post has made me me nostalgic for some of the best years of my life…where else would one find the loyal bonds, the pleasure of belonging, and the excitement of learning? After school, life is mostly a rat race…don’t mean to discourage you at all though! Just got pensive 🙂

  17. theworshipwarriorbride

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  19. Great post. I am in the same kind of limbo right now, I have done the k-12 thing, and have graduated from three different colleges. I went from being an auto-mechanic to a journalist. Right now I’m freelancing. I appreciate your perspective and totally agree, I JUST finished up my Journalism program and I feel something’s missing. Hope you find your missing piece =)

  20. I was kind of done with school when I got to know this saying: Who can, does. Who cannot, teaches. Now I am going for a PhD… How could I?!? It’s just like you wrote, “I don’t know anything else like I now academics” (The Servant 2012, ha)- and I seem to lack the courage to get to know the “real life”.

    1. lack courage? I doubt that. I’m sure it’s in there somewhere. You just need someone to challenge you to bring it out. I’ll tell you what…it takes courage to go for a PhD 😉

  21. marginalessays

    You’ll forget about it all fairly quickly. I graduated recently, and have exhausted most of my collegiate nostalgia. I thought college went by fast. My working world goes by ten times faster.

  22. Really loved reading this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the world. As a high school teacher, it’s enriching to know what goes on in the minds of “the other side.” Wish you the best. Keep writing.

  23. gipsika

    Yoh… I remember so clearly finishing highschool. You step out and you’re – free – sort of… you’re actually totally lost, and wondering what you’re supposed to do next. University wasn’t quite the same as I continued studying part-time through working, and am still going to sign up again for a late career change… but that initial feeling of, “okay, now I’m free, I’m my own person, what now?” And I had nightmares for weeks after that I arrived in school in civvies (here in SA we have school uniform).

    LOL! Good luck and all the very best! Excellent post.

  24. fireandair

    Let me translate this to the post-academic working world:

    “You get done, you feel great, but not too great, cause you always have another week of work. You can’t enjoy the weekend because you always feel like you have to get something done. You always feel like something is due, or that you missed something.”

    Seriously — this feeling never goes away. Don’t worry about it. 🙂

  25. You could think of it as the beginning of all things; the infinite adventure you have before you will be your own creation. Choices. Just remember not to get stuck living life in 4-year chunks! All the best–

  26. Good work on summing it all up. Yeah, school is like an investment for the future. I’m working, and I’m glad I didn’t waste most of those times I spent in school. Keep the perspective, man. 🙂

  27. I can understand what you’re talking about… I was just released for summer vacation, and after this summer I’ll be a senior in high school. I am slightly terrified, ha. Do you have any advice on how to make the most of it?

    1. Yes. What happens in high school, outside of getting a good GPA for colleges, will not matter after high school. What WILL follow with you is your dignity, your determination for success, and your willingness to make the most of your life…to make a lasting impact on whatever you do. Let the hate and judgement you may receive from others roll off your shoulder, knowing that you are capable of SO much more. Good luck, and do what’s best for yourself and for others.

    2. fred gonzarooni

      yeah, what he (da servant) said. i wuzz gonna wrying say: you hafta ask for advice? jes flow with the go, man …

  28. Hah, I get all wrapped up in the commencement week and everyone leaving and saying their “Have a good life” goodbyes to professors and even valet parkers and the excitement of the big leap in to the rest of their lives and I haven’t been in college in 2 decades but I work at one! CONGRATULATIONS!

  29. It must all feel so surreal! Haha, I mean, I honestly can’t imagine walking out of your last class of school. But on the bright side, you’re turning the page again! I wish you all the best, God bless! I’m sure he’s got so much planned for you. 🙂

  30. Sometimes in life we become so used to a situation that when it’s finally over we don’t know what to do then. I guess life is all about changing. Nice blog.

  31. nazarioartpainting

    It accepts, celebrates and enjoys the good things and the bad, only try to understand them 😉

  32. What a great article! I thought I was the only person dealing with some of the same issues! Ha-ha! Not really, but I’ve lost so many friends that just did not understand that school had to come first. I’m in my 3rd year at a community college and applying to pharmacy schools this summer, which will tack on another 4 years. It is a journey that i am living every moment of on a daily basis. I have heard people tell me that in the end, you don’t know what to do with yourself when ALL the classes are over. I relate it to being in the Marines, when I got out and came back to the regular civilian life with no schedule or structure it was kind of scary. A person gets used to the structure of a well organized (or not) lifestyle and can fear change. But it’s the best of us that keep moving forward. Great article and congratulations! I hope you live a great life full of ups and downs to keep you fresh and on your toes.

  33. weatheredeye

    Congrats on finishing school! I bet it’s a little bit of a relief to not have to come back again :P. I completed high school about two years ago, and I’m looking to start university within the next few months. Maybe in Business, or Graphic Design.
    What will you be doing in Grand Rapids and New Zealand? Any family in either? You sound like you’ve got yourself mostly on track, I hope you do amazing in the future :). This blog definitely has my follow.

    1. I am going to GR to move in with some buddies. Also, I’m getting a job in GR, to pay off student loans while my paperwork to move to New Zealand processes. I’m a Social Worker, and I will take my profession overseas. Thanks for the follow!

      1. weatheredeye

        Oh, that’s really excellent! I hope it doesn’t take too long to finish up your loans, they’re a pain in the ass at best.
        Cheers 🙂

  34. it’s seems you have some plans for your future, so that’s good!:)
    good luck..i heard one great sentence, stumbled upon it in one book, simple but great ‘first few years after university are supposed to be tough’.
    I was happy when I got my university degree and would never consider going back to school. post school is not the most laid back part of the life, but it is very exciting (in a gooood way) with all its ups and downs!:)
    so, hope u’re gonna enjoy it!

  35. Angela

    I did not realize this was your last day til now, and I don’t remember ever dreaming about you before, but I had a long involved dream about you coming to Cambodia for an internship. Just wanted you to know:)

  36. TC Hathaway

    I finished grad school 20 years ago and I still have dreams that I’m back in school and have a paper due, or have been skipping class and don’t even know what’s due. Not sure what that tells you about me, but school never quite leaves your system, I think. 🙂

  37. Roshni

    Loved your post, more so because I’m just out of college too and can relate to your feelings so well! 🙂 Anyway, best of luck for your life ahead! And congratulations on being FP!

  38. Great post, especially for our youth! Long after I had finished my Master’s Degree, I had the uncanny feeling that I somehow had a few semesters to finish. I call it the “post graduation delayed syndrome”. Education is a life long proces. After the degrees, I find it necessary to keep excelling.

  39. Eric I enjoyed your entry, I can relate in part, but NOT the part concerning school, and studying. When I walked away from high school during my 11th year without graduating, I was ecstatic, and never gave it another thought. Studying was extremely torturous for me, and I found it confining, somewhat similar to prison actually. But I have learned much during my time on God’s great earth and couldn’t be where I am now without Him. I look forward to reading other entries in this blog. I like you enjoy writing as a hobby, and I never know when the Lord will reveal something to me from my writings, that needs a heart change. Sometimes writing for me is akin to praying. Keep up the good writing. The Lord bless you!

      1. Me teach? No, I don’t think so, remember I hated school. I was more artistic in nature; singer, dancer, actor, events coordinator, private chef, painter, now a bit of writing. Thanks for the question though, it gave me a chuckle.lol!

  40. I love this! I, too, had the “hmmm” moment upon leaving my last class. I think I expected balloons and confetti. But it was introspective and contemplative instead…

    Fun post — and congrats to you!

    🙂

  41. That’s a lot of writing…but you never know when is your last class. I walked out of university thinking it’s over, no more. A few years later, I was back, different country, different university, but still studying. Great post, btw, and good luck!!!

  42. I can’t believe this is freshly pressed and you have no comments!? Anyway, I can relate to this, I haven’t left yet, but I graduate in December, so I have been thinking about what it will be like to finally leave. Also, what are your plans for New Zealand? I’m so surprised to find so many people on here who want to go there!

    1. I actually did hitchhike in NZ when I was there. We went to see a glacier, and our ride left us in the dust. So we hitchhiked back to our hotel. It was frightening, haha. Had my hand on my pocket knife the entire time. Cool links! Thanks!

  43. kzackuslheureux

    I remember writing my last test, handing it in, and taking a big breath and pondering, ‘this is it, that was it, now it’s done, hmmmm.’ It was a Native American Studies class, and the campus was nearly empty as I nearly skipped, nearly cried on the way to my car. I knew I’d never forget that moment. Five years later I can slip back into that feeling in a reminiscent second. Nice post.

  44. This definitely reminds me of my post graduation feeling i had…The “Now what” feeling. We always look forward to be officially “done ” with school and when we actually do, we get perplexed with it that we dont know what our next step should be. But thats the advantage of being young and in the 21st century life is all about exploring, making mistake and bouncing right back up.
    Great post Man!

  45. do want to spend some time saying this: School can be hard at times, and even seem stupid to others. A waste of time, and a life killer. Get over yourself. If this is actually what you think, put into perspective that without a high school diploma, you might as well be homeless, or selling drugs, or mooching off of someone for the rest of your life, or the jackpot; D. All of the Above.
    an absolute cracker! loved it!

  46. It’s been a month since I graduated and same with you, it hasn’t sunk in yet to me. I just feel like I’m having summer vacation now and will be back in school after a few weeks. Now I do not know where to go.

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