The (Under) Graduate

Pete Imburgia

I am not the kind of person who seeks out a single line from a poem or song and uses it to express myself. Attempting to perfectly encapsulate my life by using the words of someone whose ability to articulate their emotions through words is greater than mine is not something I usually do.

But it recently became clear to me that a particular scene in The Graduate seemed to do just that. Articulate what I could not. Put into words what I felt, knowing full well what I felt was the exact emotion the author intended to convey.

When asked by his father what he’s doing, the character of recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock replies with, “Just drifting. Here in the pool.” Disappointed with Benjamin’s lack of motivation, he asks what purpose those four years of college he’s just completed now serve. With unabashed honesty Benjamin says, “You got me.”

The word “drifting” is used in this scene to both describe Benjamin lazily floating in the pool and also to describe the aimless direction of his life. This is exactly how I felt during this past summer as I remained jobless throughout and wondered if this unmotivated feeling would continue after I graduate.

“It’s very comfortable just to drift here,” Benjamin says, giving his father a reason for his lack of motivation.

He’s exactly right. It’s extremely comfortable to just drift aimlessly, leeching off your parents, content with doing nothing at all. It can become dangerously comfortable.

I’m certain I am not the only person to feel like this after graduating from college. So what are we graduates and soon-to-be graduates to do to ensure that we do not end up drifting? Well, let’s take a look at what Benjamin Braddock decided to do. He falls in love with the daughter of a woman he’s having an affair with and does everything in his power — including foiling her wedding — to be with her in the end.

Obviously I’m not saying to do the same — though you should if the opportunity presents itself — but the point is that he actually found a purpose in his life. That is what everybody should strive for. Whether it be a successful career, love and happiness or something that makes good use of your talents that you take pleasure in, you should be motivated to do something constructive and of great worth and not just decompose.

Find that purpose for your life.

Pete Imburgia is a senior English major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater . Contact him at [email protected].