Tomorrow Begins Today

Today, I mailed off my last final exam and finished my undergraduate degree requirements. “Luckily,” I was able to finish through online correspondence courses with my university, something I’ve slowly been chipping away at for the last three years. Yes, that’s three years after my intended graduation date.

I put luckily in quotes, as my missing credits were basic, for the most part, items I skipped over, ignored, or courses i dropped out of, thinking that I would get to them later – or I wasn’t in the right “headspace” to deal with. You see, the Creative Writing emphasis also works for excuses.

There were so many more interesting things to pursue (that was always the criterion, what was most interesting): Girls. “Artistic self-improvement.” “Experience…” None of which could be found in an institution, I scoffed. All true (except the first; plenty of girls, few women.) Yes, I achieved this, and I achieved that. A self-sustaining writer in New York City, that’s an echelon. Still, I went the past three years with a stone on my head. A whisper hamstrung my every benchmark… You never graduated college…you fucking loser…

A good many of you received your college degree, or will, probably within the socially normative four years. You will, or did, feel good, and rightfully so.

Yet …you have student loans, unpaid credit cards, bills you’re ducking, credit report splotches…

Each black mark is a stone weighing you down. You may get a new job, a promotion, move to a new city, what have you. There will still that dangling modifier, that thing left undone.

You can finish it, or say fuck it. Either way, do what you need to do to seek a life without caveats. Don’t pay rent on your dreams. One great way to do this is get completely debt-free, and build up a 6-month emergency fund. Life takes money. Master of your financial destiny and a good chunk of your personal destiny falls into place.

Of course, now I have to work off all this weight I gained while blogging and conducting my distance learning courses. Everything has a cost. I consider it a loan borrowed for an appreciating asset, and am working it off, starting today. — BEN POPKEN

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