special places necklace from Sydney Buchanan
I graduated from Georgetown exactly one year ago. On one hand, it feels like just yesterday that I was walking around the Hilltop, eating at Booey's, staking out places to study in the library, and feeling the warmth of the community that comes with undergraduate life. And on the other hand, it feels like years have passed since group project woes, cramming for finals, and struggling through "required" classes that you have absolutely no interest in.
In short, I would say that I miss college, but I don't miss college. It's a strange thing. While you're in the middle of college, it seems that all you can think about is the stress (and, yes, the weekend fun). This final is due in a week. I haven't started writing that ten page paper due in three days. Why isn't anyone in my group project pulling their weight? My professor gave us the hardest exam ever. We've walked past the front gates of campus so many times that we simply don't notice the wrought iron anymore. The fight for forks in the dining hall is such a distraction that we forget to recognize how wonderful these giant family meals are every single day. The pressure for that perfect grade casts a shadow on the beauty of learning and knowledge.
Admittedly, I wasn't the girl at graduation in tears having to leave my friends. I was excited. I was ready to leave. After putting an end to my coxing career, my senior year was kind of the best year ever at school. For once, I had time to devote to my classes (and even TA for one!) and I had time to travel every weekend. I felt like I was straddling the lines of collegiate life with real life. Every weekend I was in NYC meeting with companies and people and just doing awesome things... and then I'd have to get back on the train (or bus) and go back to finals, papers, and group projects. By the time May rolled around, I couldn't wait to check college off my list officially and jump (head first) into the Real World.
I graduated without a job, having turned down nine offers. It was the first time in my entire life where I didn't have my next step planned. I felt like I was free-falling. It was scary and exhilarating. That roller-coaster feeling in my stomach both worried me and gave me a new sense of life and purpose. The idea that I could literally pick any place in the world to live was eye-opening. The world was completely mine. Of course, I settled on New York City as my future home and then hit the ground running securing a job.
I didn't look back.
Now, being a year out, I can look back fondly on my years at Georgetown. The jagged edges of my memories of stress, anxiety, and breakdowns have smoothed over time. The visions of the campus (the front gates, the chapel, the river) have heightened. George Bernard Shaw once said, "Youth is wasted on the young." I feel like this kind of applies to college... College might be wasted on the collegiate.
Graduating from college seems like the very end of everything. It does, in a sense, signal the end of a few things. The safety and security of a set track is gone. (But the whole world now opens up to you!) The house parties and socials are over. (But "grabbing drinks" after work is just as grown up and awesome as it sounds.) Scheduling your classes as late into the afternoon as possible is no longer an option. (But... well, sorry, can't help you there. Early mornings are your new future!)
Graduating is not a door closing, but the turning of a page.
Your life is yours to make now.
PS Georgetown Forever... College Prepster Forever.