Little Duck, Big Pond


Wait, my four years of college at the University of Oregon are over??  The days of sleeping in after late nights and working to benefit only my own personal degree have come to an end.  Newly graduated and heading into the real world, life took a sudden jump onto a fast track. It became a fast track of work and greater responsibilities to something larger than myself.

In my first few weeks I’ve had increased responsibilities and impacted more people than I knew was possible as an intern straight out of college.  Researching current events and the nonprofit efforts of organizations like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, can make the world seem both smaller and bigger at the same time.

Downtown Portland, Oregon

As part of my adjustment to Portland I have had to change my previous commute style of walking less than a mile to class.  I now ride the Trimet Max Green Line from Clackamas to Portland on someone else’s schedule.  Living in a small college community for four years has opened my eyes to how different a larger city like Portland can be for a person who had become comfortable in a student role. It opened my eyes to how simple interactions and processes can effect so many people that you really don’t fully comprehend in college (at least I didn’t).

In my short time in the ‘real world’, I’ve appreciated how powerful a single idea can be when implemented with the right intentions. Each life is important and matters, and one person can make a difference.  Nonprofits are known for providing opportunities and guidance to create a better world and I feel grateful to see great people striving to do great things daily.

I will definitely miss my wonderful college years, but that time in school lead me to new great experiences and gave me the skills to help create a better world.  And who could ask for more?

Kat Shannon

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7 Responses to Little Duck, Big Pond

  1. pdxsx says:

    Good post, Kat! Welcome to the new world of life after college. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll do remarkably well out here. 🙂

    ~J

  2. Chelsea Fung says:

    I love your intro! Not only can I relate but it grabs my attention from the beginning. Great post!

  3. I agree with Chelsea, your intro paragraph really brought me in and was relatable. Great capture of the transition many of us are feeling right now.

  4. Troy says:

    I definitely understand the bittersweetness of graduation. I might try to cling to my college years like a keg-stand.

  5. eilíseward says:

    Oh how I miss that less than 1 mile commute as well! Best part of college, rolling out of bed 10 minutes before class. Sadly that lifestyle is no longer! Great post.

  6. tamarafeingold says:

    It’s definitely exciting knowing we are part of such a larger community than our previous little UO bubbles. Lot’s of adjustments, but good to see you’re appreciating the opportunity this new time brings with it, even if it’s intimidating.

  7. sarahbrown90 says:

    Like most of the other PDXSXers, I can definitely relate to this feeling. After being sheltered in a college community, surrounded by thousands of people my own age, it’s weird to be out in the “real world.” The commute to work is much different than the commute was to class, and the people you meet are definitely different than the norm you’re used to seeing around campus. It’s been hard for me because I miss all of my friends that I left back in Eugene or who have moved back to California. At first I was really worried I would have a hard time adjusting and having to find a new group of people to hang out with, but I am slowly starting to be okay with it. Although I have lived in the PDX area my whole life, I agree that coming back as an adult has been an eye opening experience especially with the way people interact like you said. In the city, I have noticed a lot more strangers will strike up conversations with me either while I’m out and about on the streets or on public transportation. In college I felt like that was less the case unless you were out at a bar. Just with this small realization, it makes me realize that growing up and leaving the comfort zone of the college campus isn’t as bad as we think it will be at first. There is so much more out there and so many interesting people to meet, we just have to realize it and open our eyes to new experiences. I have already learned so much while being “on my own” (in a sense) in these past few weeks, so I’m definitely looking forward to the future and what is to come for all of us. I can’t lie, college was the best 4 years of my life so far…but there’s so much more that lies ahead!

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