So I did this really cool thing the other day, I highly recommend it… I graduated college. 🙂
During my last few weeks of college, I was an emotional wreck. I cried at every “last”– my last day of classes, my last meal in the dining hall, even my last final! (Well, okay, I cried at the last one for other reasons, but still.) I was a hot mess.
The funny thing behind all of my emotions is that I’m actually not leaving the institution where I completed my undergrad. I’m one of nineteen students enrolled in my five-year Masters program. Basically, for one extra year after I complete my undergrad, I earn my Masters in Secondary English Education AND my teaching certificate. This translates to me earning more money and better benefits for sticking around campus for one extra year. I’ve been taking graduate courses, as well as finishing out my undergrad reqs, during my senior year of college. I start my official graduate courses the day after Memorial Day.
When I was graduating high school, I was a hot mess of a zombie. My grandpa, who basically raised me, had just died. I was coming to terms with my sexuality, and things were tense between me & my parents. I didn’t really feel much of a connection between myself and my high school friends so I was looking forward to starting a new life in college. I couldn’t wait to move away from home and live my own life.
Four years later, as my final semester of undergrad came to a close, I started freaking out about becoming a “real” adult and leaving the world I had come to know behind. Although I’ll be a grad student in the Fall, only my cohort (the members of my program) will still be around. I’ll no longer be a RA, something that has defined my identity for the past 3 years. I won’t have my own room. I won’t have poetry class to go to. (I’ve spent 27 of my 128.5 college credits taking poetry and creative writing courses, and poetry has become a form of therapy.) I’m student teaching in the Fall, which means I’m paying massive tuition to be an indentured servant to the state. I’m growing up. Basically, life is changing AND IT’S FREAKING ME THE FUCK OUT!!!!
As I attended Senior Day activities (a wine tasting and a luau), I felt super nostalgic and super at home all at once. I realized something– for the first time in my life, college is a place where I felt 100% at home. No matter where I went or what group of friends I hung out with (with the exception of my roommate from freshman year, who was a bitch), I felt accepted and at home. Everyone at college has always been incredibly accepting and genuine, which is something rare and wonderful. I have been so blessed to have met so many fabulous people over the past four years, and I’m so grateful to have them in my life.
I’m terrified of growing up and facing “the real world.” I don’t want to leave my “gay college bubble” where everyone is supportive, loving, and amazing. I don’t want to fall out of touch with my friends, and I don’t want to face the risk of forgetting why I am the woman I am today.
College has changed me for the better. These past four years have been the most tumultuous years of my life. So much has changed both in my personal life and in the world, and I am oh-so-grateful for the experiences I’ve had in college. They have defined who I am today.
Graduating college is scary. Hell, any major change is scary. You know what? That’s what makes change such a wonderful part of life. If we don’t face our fears, we’ll never be able to accomplish anything in life. These past four years have flown by, and to all the soon-to-be college freshman I say this: embrace them. Take in everything day by day, and don’t look back. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Dwelling on them will only hinder your ability to grow as a person. Carpe diem– seize the day. In fact, seize every day, good or bad, and take it for what it’s worth and don’t look back. You won’t regret it.