For all of the excitement and praise you receive on graduation day, no one ever thinks to warn you about how sad it really is to graduate. In between the “You did it’s” and the “We’re so proud of you’s” is just the most frightening mixture of nostalgia, fear and lack of control. I felt it yesterday, sitting at my dorm room window, looking over the field as the maintenance staff of Boston University cleaned up discarded water bottles, graduation ceremony programs and graduation caps that were thrown into the air one minute and then left behind the next.
I couldn’t help but feel like our lacrosse field, all littered with post-graduation trash, looked a little bit like how I felt in that moment. Everyone had abandoned it for post-ceremony plans and there it was, empty and messy. That’s how I felt, too. My family had left to catch flights and beat highway traffic and there I was alone, too scared to start saying any goodbyes, and too sad to go out in public. Because in just a few brief hours I had gone from celebrating with all of my friends to being all alone. And deep down I knew that, no matter how many goodbyes I said, I would never be able to say everything to these people and to this place that have made my life so special these past four years.
There was no goodbye adequate to express how I really felt in the moment. I couldn’t find the words, so I hugged everyone tight and promised that I would see them again soon. And in at least a few cases, that last part was probably a lie.
Yesterday felt messy, like there were too many loose-ends to tie up, too many frat party souvenirs to throw away, and too many places to see one last time. The car was neatly packed full to the brim with all of my belongings, but I still felt a mess. I’m at home now in Connecticut, where I’ve taken refuge in my childhood bedroom and turned on Michael Jackson’s Thriller to get me through my blue period. Looking around my room, I have no one to turn to for advice about what to do next. On either side of me are several suitcases and boxes I have yet to unpack and a large cardboard cutout of Ryan Gosling’s head, which was given to me as a graduation present. And, unsurprisingly, cardboard Ryan has very little advice for what I should do to feel better. If only the real Ryan were here to help.
This post maybe isn’t all that funny, or funny at all, but I thought I’d take a little liberties with this one to talk about how shitty I feel right now. Pardon my use of swear words, but there’s no other way to explain it. It just feels awful. It feels messy. It feels sad. In the coming weeks I’m going to start a new chronicle of the life of a girl moving home to live with her parents: Magna Cum Living With My Parents. One girl goes where 50% of college graduates have gone before. I’m hoping as I start to adjust to living here I’ll have more funny stories to tell you about what it’s really like to live at home again, what it’s really like to live with your mom again, and what it’s like to run into people who, four years ago, you thought you’d never see again. Until then…
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