Friday, May 9, 2014

"And when college days are over, From this Hill we've wended down"

So what’s it like to finish college? 
To hand in that final assignment, to make that final presentation, shake the hand of your professors and walk out the class room door, without looking back at the people who have been so pivotal to who you are today? To start saying good bye to the class mates who you've grown with across four years, and the underclassmen that inspire and remind you of what you were like?

It’s anticlimactic, yet incredibly relieving. This afternoon I defended my honors thesis to a panel of some of my favorite faculty, and they tore my work apart, pointing out flaws, misinterpretations, gaps, and numerous areas of improvement … and then they deliberated, and granted me my honors in Global Studies. I pulled a bottle of Finger Lakes Chardonnay-Riesling (Salmon Run vineyard 2011) and we celebrated. I still have edits to turn in before graduation, yet this is was it.

Although most of the Ruckus Bus is seniors, today was also our last practice with the entire team. I was late coming from the defense, but I sprinted barefoot through the soft field in the glaring sun. The plants even seem relieved to finally be able to open their buds. Everything’s coming together.

The reality is a creeping, seizing feeling upon my throat, my chest, my mind, and the rest of my body, knowing that this structure I’ve accustomed to for 17 years will no longer be there. At least until I venture unto graduate school. Last of this, last of that. I’ve been snapping shots with a disposable camera, which will certainly feel like a treasure when the film’s developed.

All the ‘grander’ visions, so to say, that I applied for didn’t work out; I say this with subdued bitterness and a gracious sense of humility. It’s a lesson in long-term planning and figuring out how to move through the rip tide when it’s about to pull you under. Of course this isn’t the end of things; I’ve hardly just begun!

Don’t ask me my ‘plan’, because you know what? I don’t have one yet. I might be spending another summer cooking, but at least I’ll always know how to feed myself and others. This is funderemployment (fun + under employment). The loans are real, and my obligation to debt already haunts me. Still, there is something to be said for veering off the imagined or intended path. Despite all these experiences that college has afforded me, I need this chance to explore on my own.

Before that, before the caps and gowns, we have a Senior Week dedicated to bonding and partying.

I’ll cry later.

"We will love thee yet, we're ne're forget the Scarlet and the Brown."

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