This column was originally published in USC’s Daily Trojan on Aug. 25, 2015
College feels like a New York minute. Yes, even when you go to school in Los Angeles.
This week I’m embarking on the beginning of my senior year. I’ve attended three rounds of football seasons, rocked out at a plethora of free on-campus concerts, heard our fight song way too many times (just kidding, you can’t hear it too many times) and frequented every fast food place along Figueroa Street. I still have nine more months until I move my tassel to the left and go from a “student” to “alum.” Yet I feel like I need way more time.
These feelings started popping up this summer after I finished my junior year classes. Around the same time, another milestone happened. Millennials — defined as people born between 1982 to 2000 — finally outnumbered the baby boomers in this country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
. We now make up a quarter of the U.S. population.
Millennials sometimes get a bad rep. We’ve been called the “selfie” generation and been told we’re tied to technology. Meanwhile, we push back and constantly say that our tendencies and connection to social media is more necessary than ever. So with this newly minted title of “largest group in the country,” one question that arises is, “Where do we go from here?”
These two anxieties of being a graduating senior and member of the millennial generation really amplified when I saw the progress on the Village at USC. It’s absolutely beautiful and man, do I wish I had a chance to live and shop there as an undergraduate. But I’ll be in the real world by then.
And now I wish I had more time to work at Daily Trojan.
And I wish I had more time to try out a club I was too afraid to join.
And I wish I had more time to meet more people.
I simply wish I had more time.
In the course of four years at USC, it seems like one can almost radiate cardinal and gold. Not in the school spirit way where you must attend every single Trojan football game ever, but in the way that your goals become married to your syllabus. All USC students are good students. We know what we have to accomplish to get that “A” or which leadership positions we have to take on to get to the next level.
Yet the start of senior year does something weird to the millennial psyche. Despite being hyper-involved in clubs and organizations, piling up internship credentials and spending one too many all-nighters in (Club) Leavey Library, when we’re forced to accept the world outside of the University Park Campus, it can feel like we’re starting from zero.
Have I done enough? Or worse, have I done anything at all? The stated mission of USC is to develop students “through the cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit.” But have we taken full advantage of that while on our race to the top?
Though USC can sometimes be an isolated place, I’m not alone in these feelings. More than 3,000 other students in the University of Southern California’s Class of 2016 are at the same point of their lives. On an even grander scale, there’s millions of 20-somethings heading into their last years in college, trying to firmly situate themselves on a path that leads to 1) a decent paying job and 2) happiness.
That’s not too much to ask for, right? We have goals. We are working hard to execute them. But rounding the edge of the safety net of college is jarring. It can sometimes make you feel like you “just can’t even.”
So like any true millennial I have set out goals for this column. Throughout the semester it will be used as a springboard for conversations among us millennials. With each column I hope it moves us closer to understanding what it means to be a millennial, having politicians pander to us and how we can successfully move out of the USC world we have grown to master. It’s for all the millennials out there feeling anxious and simultaneously hopeful.
After we leave the USC bubble that hovers over Jefferson, Exposition and Vermont, we’ll be in a whole new playing field. We’ll have new assessments, new challenges and no syllabi. But we’ll still have goals.
The start of senior year — heck, the start of any school year — is a time for new goals. We’re going to somehow navigate this “real world” that people keep talking about. But hopefully this column begins to address some of those fears. And in some crazy way, helps tackle them.
After reading “Wait an L.A. Minute” on Tuesdays, join Jordyn Holman in her millennial conversations on Twitter @JordynJournals. She’s a senior studying print and digital journalism.