For the first time in 21 years, I realize what life is all about. Survival.As a student, I never really thought about that. Scholarships, loans and parental support have gotten me this far, but soon I’ll be on my own. I’ll have to pay rent, buy groceries, save for retirement; I’ll have to find a way to survive on my own.In about 2 months – 74 days to be exact – I will walk across the stage of Moody Coliseum on the campus of Abilene Christian University located in West Texas to receive my diploma – well, not really because they mail you the real one 4-6 weeks after the ceremony.Anyway, I will walk across the stage, symbolizing the end of my academic career and the beginning of my adult life. And let me tell you, I didn’t know what fear was until I realized I might not be able to live out my dream.I’ve always dreamed of being a writer in New York, much like Carrie Bradshaw, if you will. But now I don’t have a clue how I’m going to make that happen.It was easy to make plans on my own, you know, dream big and all that. Now, I realize my dreams haven’t quite matched up with reality. And that was a hard realization to come to. Frankly, it sucked.I’m lucky enough to have been offered an opportunity at a Texas newspaper I interned at as a student, so I don’t have to worry about whether I will be employed or not after I graduate; not many people can say that.There’s absolutely nothing wrong with staying in Texas, except that it wasn’t in my plan. Coming to terms with that was a bit of a slap in the face, too. Especially after I made a plan to move to the Big Apple as soon as I could buy a plane ticket and telling myself I would never work at another newspaper.You know that saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”? Well, I’m sure he had a hearty laugh at me for a good four years or so.Getting knocked down a few pegs isn’t the best feeling, but it put things into perspective. I’ve always dreamt big, and I tried my hardest not to let anyone tell me I couldn’t achieve those dreams and even found people who supported my dream.But as I write this, I realize those dreams don’t have to go away, and those people are still around. The only thing that has changed is the path I planned for myself. The timeline I had worked out is now a little skewed, but who’s to say I won’t get to my destination?I’ve got the rest of my life to survive, and I know someday I’ll survive while doing something I love. Maybe that won’t be right after graduation, but this is not at all a bad place to start.

Rachel Fritz is a senior Convergence Journalism major at Abilene Christian University. She is a contributor for Honeysuckle Magazine.