Ending university is very similar to ending a relationship. You begin to ask open-ended questions like, ‘is this actually over?’ or ‘are we really done?’. Then come the sporadic tears, irrational anger and drunken nights filled with romantic nostalgia of every moment you’ve ever had together. You can’t escape the memories. Over the four years you’ve become so attached that it seems unfathomable to ever not be together. But reality hits you like a ton of bricks, and it feels as if someone has just stolen your identity and took off with your life leaving you homeless, empty and confused to the point where you wouldn’t know which way were up or down. When you listen to romantic songs, you can’t help but relate the lyrics to the love you feel towards your university and the relationship you have with it. This all sounds silly, but in reality the love affair you have with university will be one of the best love stories of your lifetime.
University is an explosion of clarity and simultaneous madness. It’s where you first have your purse stolen learning that not all people are worth trusting because many people don’t have your best interest at heart. It’s where you have your first heartbreak, leaving you crying in your bed, looking in the mirror wondering how you got so pathetic. It’s where you learn that sometimes things fall apart and people can’t keep their promises. And it’s where you learn to get up again and recover from bad situations like unrequited love and rejection and have it make you better rather than bitter.
University is where you begin to understand that home is not a place, that sometimes blood isn’t always thicker than water and that change is the only constant. It’s where you’re first able to introduce yourself independently to the world, allowing yourself to be whoever you want to be. It’s where you initiate the beginning of lifelong friendships with some of the greatest people you’ll ever meet, one of them being yourself. It’s where you learn to love yourself and embrace all the parts you used to hate about yourself little by little.
University allows you to feel secure at a time when nothing is secure. Your acceptance letter may as well have been a really expensive ticket to a place with four years of guaranteed fun, love, lessons and beautiful moments.
University is so much more than just the education you receive or the diploma that you hang on the wall.
University is a five am trip to the dinner with a blend of old and new friends that you just met at the bar that night. University is a sloppy dance floor make out with a stranger and every last round of tequila shots you’ve ever taken at your favorite bar. University is the study sessions with your friends that end up turning into nights filled with junk food, Facebook stalking and laughing ’til your stomach hurts. University is four years of irreplaceable and complete intoxicating bliss.
Leaving university is a bizarre and sad experience and something I’m surely struggling with, but at the same time I’m also undeniably happy because I can’t ignore the overwhelming fact that I was lucky enough to have such an amazing experience. I am sad to say goodbye to the wonderful life I’ve created at university over my four years but I find calmness knowing that I be taking a piece of my university with me wherever I go, in lessons I’ve learned, the relationships I’ll keep and the memories I’ll cherish forever.
So to my university experience, I say ‘I will love you and miss you forever’ and that doesn’t feel the least bit out of context because like I said before, leaving university is whole lot similar to a breakup and also because I really really really whole-heartedly mean it.
Thank you McMaster for everything you have ever taught me and given me.