The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Graduating Etiquette

Something like 6 weeks until graduation, strangers and students alike ask me what my plan is. I am not answerless, and neither are you out there who claim: I don’t know. Don’t laugh with embarrassment awaiting the comfort from those that ask. There is no way to truly answer that question or any of it’s companions such as: what do you want to be, what do you plan on doing with that major, or what do you want to do? The last one is my favorite. I take it, and the other two, as other forms of “how are you?” Do people really care? I don’t think so. A friend of mine once wrote a piece on little white lies. In it she painted the hilariously satisfying scenario of actually responding, with complete honesty, to the question “how are you?” If I’m going to tell the truth, she explained, I would tell them how I have a head ache, how my personal life is, and the anxiety I feel—oh ya, also making sure to include my last bowel movement. I more than laughed at this. I cackled. How does this brilliance apply to those burning graduation questions? And by burning I mean irritating, like an STD caught and remembered like a lower division class you thought you were easing through but truly failing. Well, next time someone asks you any of these questions, especially about who you want to be and what you want to do, truly tell them. Don’t ask them how much time they have. Just answer the question(s). “I’d like to begin my summer off with an internship where I will build a repertoire and be so damn charming I will be immediately hired at the BBC. There, I will meet my soul mate. Said soul mate and I will begin making documentaries because I will be so rich and have such lengthy vacations, you know how the British are with vacations days, that I will have time to make these documentaries. One will get in the hands of David Fincher, and that’s how I will win my first Oscar.” Outlining your Oscar speech is optional. The point is, no one can be deduced to such question and answer interplay. There is nothing that can express what I want or will be. As that person asks you the question, you and your future are building. I’m not saying people are assholes for asking such questions or that you should be an asshole when you respond. I just have to send this out there into the universe: you are not alone. How you are and who you are is not a two-word sentence. But sometimes you have to keep that process moving with your own intentions in mind. So go ahead, say it, “I’m fine,” and know that you are more than fine. You are becoming.


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