I’m going to be walking across the stage in a mere eleven days to receive a diploma from one of the best universities in the Southeast. I have spent four years here and they have been filled with love, laughter, tears, and sadness. More importantly though, the girl who is walking across the stage in eleven days is not the girl who was high school valedictorian four years ago. This place has changed me – mostly for the better, I hope. However, as I listen to stories of people going on to adult jobs and adult lives, as my Facebook feed fills up with engagements and wedding photos, I am apartment hunting for a place to live as I go on to yet another university.
It doesn’t seem real. I don’t feel this joy of graduation. I don’t feel like I’m moving forward, at least not much. I’m moving to a new city, sure. I’m going to have another line on my resume, of course. But is my life really going to change that much? I’m still going to be carrying a backpack with me as I walk down an early-twenties populated street. I’m still going to be spending my nights sitting in bed reading or writing a paper. I’m still going to be filling my grocery basket with Ramen and Capri Sun (I might still be in elementary school).
But at the same time… I’m going to miss this place. My friends are the most brilliant humans I have ever met. They are caring creatures who can demolish food like no one I have ever seen. They have great taste in beer and I owe my six-pack to them because of how much they make me laugh. (Albeit, that six-pack is hiding under the Ramen and Capri Sun.) How can I be excited when L will be in New York, C will be in Virginia, and N will be God knows where (Lord, please help him find a job.)? As excited as I am for them, I am dreading the day we all say “see you later” but “see you later” will mean Skyping and expensive plane tickets.
There are so many feelings that go into graduating from college. It’s the most bittersweet experience. Every time I walk out of a final I want to click my heels while I wipe tears from my eyes. My professors have been mentors since day one. My classrooms have been dungeons and funhouses. My library has been my bedroom for several all-nighters that I just don’t quite make through. The Quad has been my playground and the soccer fields have been my body’s demise. How can I find these things when I move to the city? How can I move to a state where football is below basketball on priority lists? And more so, what does a chemistry degree mean when I am trying to file my taxes?
I am not ready for this next step but in eleven days, I’m being pushed down the stairs.
Keep to your roots,