“You’re on your own, kid”

Counting down the days to graduation

Leah Pflaum

More stories from Leah Pflaum


The album cover for ‘Midnights’ by Taylor Swift.

“You’re on your own, kid.” This is the fifth track off of renowned musician, Taylor Swift’s latest album, “Midnights”. In the song, Swift writes about how we take the lessons that we have learned from our youth, and use them to help guide us in adulthood. 

I really connected to this song the first time I listened to the album due to the meaning behind all the lyrics and how I related to them as I am close to walking across the stage at graduation. 

“I gave my blood, sweat and tears for this,” Swift said.

This lyric reflects the hard work put into accomplishing one’s goals in life and the sacrifices that were made on the way. 

After four and a half years of being enrolled here, it is finally coming to an end. Countless essays written, plenty of projects completed, infinite amounts of cups of coffee on sleepless nights and a lifetime of memories. 

Entering the last week of school has made me realize the amount of ‘lasts’ I have as a student. From my last BMB performance to my last bagel at Einstein’s, I will no longer get to experience those as a Blugold anymore.

After I graduate will I be able to go to a BMB performance or make my way to the nearest Einstein’s to enjoy a bagel? Of course. But I won’t have the same reasons behind it. 

If I attend a BMB performance it will no longer be because I am in the band and if I get a bagel from Einstein’s, it is no longer my lunch break in between classes. All things I can never do as a Blugold again. I really am, in the wise words of Taylor Swift, on my own. 

Being a student here for four and a half years, I feel as if I have gained some knowledge on the college experience, specifically at the UW-Eau Claire campus. So to anyone out there who is early in their college years or has yet to start, I have one piece of advice for you.

Enjoy the times you have in college — it goes by quickly. One minute you are wandering around campus like a lost puppy trying to find the rooms to your first semester freshman year classes and next you are picking up your cap and gown for graduation. 

To all my fellow graduates this semester — look at us.

We went from awkward encounters when we were trying to make lifelong friendships in the first week of freshman year, all the way to walking across that stage and receiving what we have worked so hard for. All I can say right now is that “I waited ages to see you there”. 

“Take the moment and taste it, you’ve got no reason to be afraid,” Swift said in her inspirational track five. 

No matter where you are in life, take in everything and enjoy it. As someone who is still afraid to take risks and step outside my comfort zone — don’t be like me.

You can discover some of the greatest things by taking that risk you have been debating. No matter the outcome, you have still overcome your fears and anxieties and in the end, potentially learn new lessons. 

Surround yourself with positivity and support. This includes finding a great group of friends that will be there for you when you need them, and that also means you may also need to take the time to help them if they need you. 

You may lose touch with some friends and gain new ones along the way, but the world will also find a way to bring people back together when they need it. 

Who knows what life may bring to you, both good and bad. Life is a journey, and it’s our responsibility to make it the way we want.

All you need to know is that you’re on your own, kid — but you are never alone. 


Pflaum can be reached at [email protected].