When me, my cousins, and younger sister were little, we used to play pretend with lots of different things such as “play” house, “play” doctor, etc.- you get the point. But the one thing that we used to do often in the Spring and Summer was draw a huge chalk road way around my driveway. Along this road way included a bridge where you would have to pay, with fake money, to cross. (We each took turns being the toll booth attendant, which today is probably America’s number one most dreaded, mundane jobs out there).
Anyway, we loved doing this and crossing the bridge on our bikes seemed so fun and getting to the other side was something to look forward to because the road way was much larger and bendier than the prior side.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently because now I’m realizing that I have crossed so many bridges in my life since then, both physically and symbolically. Some scary, some exciting, and some confusing.
When we graduated eighth grade we crossed the bridge into high school where everything changed. We had to pay a small toll to cross this bridge which basically consisted of passing every class and not being such a devil child that you would get kicked out before your eight years were up. Surprisingly this actually happened to someone in my eight grade class. However, on the other side of the bridge we were granted more freedom, exposed to different and more opportunities, we were introduced to new peers other than the kids you spent the last eight years with, and it was collectively just a new world for all of us.
After our time there was done, we crossed the bridge into college. Unfortunately the toll to cross this bridge was a little more hefty not only did you have to pass all your classes, you were expected to do exceedingly well if you wanted to enroll in a respectable and/or prestigious college or university. In addition, you had to have some extracurricular activities, and you had to score somewhat well on the godforsaken, nearly impossible, makes you want to kill yourself, SAT. aka Satan Attacking Teens. In any case, everyone crossed some bridge whether it did lead to college or to another job, but again, we crossed that bridge, and for most of us, it was into college.
The next four years we had a good idea of what to expect- 5 classes per semester, becoming an alcoholic, and a professional Netflix binge watcher, while still somehow being able to work towards a Bachelor’s degree which was ultimately supposed to get you a career. Summer’s off, 1 month off for Christmas break, and these generous (money hungry) institutions were even nice enough to provide a week long break during both the fall and spring semesters. Life looked great for the next four years. Of course you were also expected to complete some sort of internship over this duration, but we would all cross that bridge when we got there.
Then it came- Graduation Day. The finish line that seemed almost impossible and nonexistent as a freshmen. Here we are at yet again at another bridge. Except this time, we have no idea what was lying on the other end. Except the toll was pretty extensive- a GPA worthy enough to put on a resume, 120 credits of classroom time, internships, extracurricular, and EXPERIENCE. The most dreaded criterion listed in a job posting (unfortunately your master skills in organizing an entire beer Olympics for all your friends isn’t appropriate to include on your resume).And most of us are still crossing the bridge trying to make out what’s waiting for us on the other side. And that’s okay, because all we need to know right now is that there is another side. And I know there is because bridges don’t just stop mid-point; if they did we’d all be dead and that’s not an option since there’s so much left for all of us to do and see. We still have so many more bridges to cross! i.e. marriage, kids, travel, grad school, volunteer work, etc.
We may not know what’s on the other side of our post-grad bridge, but for now just enjoy the views as you’re crossing over because as you’re so desperately trying to reach the other side, you might make it there too soon, and wish you were back into the unknown we call post-grad life.