Graduating. Today I will write about graduating. About leaving school, about waking up in the morning, relieved that I don’t have to worry about papers, assignments, professors and labs, but all of a sudden being overcome by the subtle and uncomfortable feeling that I am alone- that today, unless I consciously reach out to people, I may not run into anyone I know. My communities have evaporated; there no longer is an available trampoline to bounce from group to group, to strike up casual conversation and to sit hours on end, crying, and listening to the most meaningful person of the hour.
I guess there are virtual communities for this to happen, but having deleted Facebook for the past few months, I never realized how important these real-life communities were to me. I mean, I knew they were full of amazing people and that I was lucky to be a part of them, but I never realized how much of ME they were, how much of my personality, and my happiness went into these groups.
And in the back of my head, I hear my best friend “You know how they say college are the best years of your life? I don’t want that to be true, my life after college can be great too”, and as I listen to this in my head, I can’t help but sink into the couch a little more and think “Yeah, well, they are. Fuck”.
It can be so frustrating when all the clichés about life, or the life advice you read on thought catalogue, comes true. It’s like when you are dating someone who is known to be shitty at dating people and for the first few months you believe that you will be the one to change them, that you are different, that your “connection” is unique and no one really understands them, except for you of course- And then, “bam!”, they’re being an asshole again and you get depressed because you believed something else, you let yourself fantasize about the trips together and growing old together. That’s how it feels to graduate, like the shitty dater just dumped you and everything you thought was unique about your relationship comes crumbling down and you realize you really just are alone, broke, maybe with a couple extra pounds, and watching re-runs of pretty little liars while eating chocolate ice-cream to soothe your soul. Graduation is a break-up.
I guess it’s not all that bad. Those are the depressing bits of graduation. There is also the overwhelming sense of pride, that for once in life, you stuck with something for four years; you held out, doing things you would never normally do; you put yourself in uncomfortable situations; you met new and interesting people, and you EXPERIENCED things. That’s a wonderful feeling. It’s just the transition phase into the new part of your life that’s difficult. You need to take responsibility for yourself and find work; you need to consciously stop watching TV all day; you need to go out and find new communities; you need to find the right creative outlet. All those things require labour and effort- and not the kind of effort it takes to stay up all night to finish making up reasons for why you only have a 8.5% yield in organic chemistry, a totally different kind of effort- and that’s why it’s so difficult, at first. You need to reorganize your brain, because you no longer HAVE to do a ton of things, with your WANTS on the backburner. It’s now the opposite, there are a few things you are going to HAVE to do, but now you’re jumping into a large pool of WANTS and you need to figure out how to swim, fast. I say fast, not because it’s necessary to figure out your life goals really fast or you will expire, but because when you are living off the ten bucks you made for selling your brain to science and your parents are throwing the “cut you off” phrases in your face constantly, it’s better to start really thinking about what you want now, in order to make the paycheck-to-paycheck, struggling artist, bartender-phase happen for only the time you need it to.
I guess college is like the really adventurous, crazy, fun and unexpected partner of your life, that you always sort of knew you wouldn’t be with forever, so you took advantage of the time together as much as possible and really milked the love and fun times, and then when they broke up with you, it sucked, a lot- but because you knew it would happen eventually, there is a an element of relief and calmness. But it’s still really hard.. until you find a new partner to share life with.