Saturday, April 16, 2011


I graduate from college in about 3 weeks. In a week and two days, I will have my last day of classes and a week after that I will have my last college exam.

On May 9th, I will walk across the stage and receive my college diploma. My college experience has gone above and beyond my expectations. I've met people from all over the United States and the world, have had some amazing classes/professors, and have heard a variety of experts in their fields speak about their field of study. I wouldn't trade the last four years for anything, and I am sad to be leaving my friends, my school, and the certainty and structure that comes along with being a student.

Of course, college doesn't start and end in the classroom. As soon as I leave class or work, I run back to my apartment to change and drive to jiu jitsu. I've met some really awesome people at my gym and I am proud to call them not only teammates, but friends. They have supported me through training, injuries, and competition. They are the group of people who understand why you will give up all your vices for a period of time so you can get ready for a competition and why you'd give up your spring break to train 2x a day. They understand why you choose to participate in a sport that involves rolling around in a heavy cotton uniform with intentions to control, choke, and submit along with the risk of injury. I've had the chance to meld the cultures of jiu jitsu and being a student into one unique experience.

However, after May 9th, I can no longer live the student lifestyle I have become accustomed to. I won't be rolling out of bed close to noon for my 12:50 class and my biggest worry won't be an exam worth more than half of my grade. My goals will readjust from keeping up my grades to focusing on breaking into the world of urban planning by finding a full time job. Despite my searching and large output of job applications, I have nothing waiting for me upon graduation. After graduation, I will be focusing on continuing to search for a job. If something unpaid comes up, I will have to pick up an additional paid job so I can save money for graduate school. Additionally, I will have to take the new GRE so I can apply to graduate school.

This all being said, fitting Jiu Jitsu into all that is going to be quite difficult. Jiu Jitsu is not a cheap sport, as tournament fees and gym fees quickly add up. I imagine it will be quite difficult to fit in training expenses when saving up money for graduate school is my priority. There are a couple of BJJ gyms back home, but they're going to be much more expensive than it is down here in Atlanta.

In addition to the financial burden of BJJ, I realize that it's just not going to be as big a part of my life as I'd like it to be. Working forty hours a week as opposed to taking 16 credits per semester is going to be a big change in time commitment. Honestly, I'm shocked that people who are married and/or with kids can balance BJJ in their lives.

The next few months are going to be quite a learning experience for me. Everything I will be balancing will be much more directly related to my life path and my long term goals. I won't have a winter or spring break after a stressful period, and my actions at work will have greater consequences than the work I have put into my academics. Despite all the stress that follows, I am still excited to see where I will end up and how I will tackle the challenges at hand.

1 comment:

  1. You know, that liminal space between school and work is both scary and exciting. I remember believing that the career and grad school choices I made the first year after graduating would impact the rest of my life.

    While those choices have impacted the type of jobs and specific organizations I've gone to work for, I can't say they've dramatically impacted anything other than my career. When I wanted to move to Philly, I found a job and moved there. When I wanted to move to Atlanta, I found a job and moved.

    Consider taking a year off to travel. You'll miss out on the worst recession of your life, and have a great story to tell employers who interview you in a year or two. They'll be sitting in their office chair thinking, "I wish I had the guts to do that".