I turned 22 at the end of March and I had no expectations of it being any different than the past four years of college. I’m one of the younger students in my grade and by now almost all of my friends have turned 22. Nearly every one of them has complained, “Being 22 is nothing like Taylor Swift said it would be.” At this point I have one of those V8 moments, when I just want to hit someone on the head and say, “duh, what did you expect?”

I can confirm that at 22 we don’t go out dressed like hipsters, have breakfast at midnight, stay up dreaming (mostly because that is physically and psychologically impossible), and we most definitely DO NOT forget about deadlines. It is my senior year of college and my life consists of writing resumes, searching for jobs, finishing senior projects, and squeezing in interviews between school and work. Well, if that’s the case then being 22 must be awful, right? WRONG.

Being 22 is so much better. Sure, most days I am in a panic trying to figure out what I am going to do after graduating; where will I live, where will I work, will I be happy wherever I end up? For the first time in 22 years I don’t have a plan. For most young adults my age that would sound great. I, however, need a plan. Plans make me happy. So, without a plan, I am a mess, hence my constant state of fear and panic.

It is a scary time of my life, but it is also filled with excitement and freedom. Although I may not have a set plan for what is to come, I am able to create my own path and start a life independently. I have had my doubts about life after graduation, but everything has started to fall in to place.

I am moving to a new city, I was offered a great job, and I now have the opportunity to begin this new phase of my life with a clean slate. I don’t know what this new chapter of life will be like, but I do know that I am looking forward to it.

Many of my classmates and friends have referred to this major change as “having to grow up” or “going into the real world” and most of the time those phrases are associated with resentment, dread, and uncertainty. Although, I may have my occasional doubts, I am here to say that in this part of your life, there is no time for dread and resentment.

If you are 22 and graduating with the expectations that you can stay out all night, party everyday, and put off your responsibilities, then life will be a big shock for you. This next chapter doesn’t have to be scary, terrible, or boring. This is an exciting time of life and you will get out what you put in to it.

No matter what your next step is after graduating, give it your all. You may think that college is supposed to be the greatest time of your life, but you still have the rest of your life to look forward to. Although I am only 22 myself, I can assure you that your college years will be nothing compared to the years you have ahead of you.

Taylor Cannon

Taylor was born in San Diego and grew up in Kearney, NE. From a young age Taylor has been environmentally cautious and concerned about social justice. She recently graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. Taylor has a passion for photography and volunteering. She hopes to encourage others to take action and become involved in both their local and global communities. Learn more about Taylor's photography at her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/taylorcannonphotos