I graduated from college on May 16th 2015. I’ve been sort of an emotional train-wreck about it. A week before the ceremony I just started crying at dinner. Every time I think about how I won’t get to hang out with Mark (my creative writing prof) anymore, I get sad. I took classes with Mark four semesters in a row–all of my Junior and Senior year. I took almost every class he taught, and even though I didn’t love some of the work here and there, I just had so much fun learning from him and just hanging out. His classes were super casual, and Mark was the goofiest teacher I’ve ever had. I learned a ton from him, though, and I’ve come out on the other side as (if you don’t mind a little bragging) a pretty decent writer. The prospect of not taking Mark’s classes anymore is honestly, I think, the hardest part about graduating.
The other part, which should scare the crap out of me, really doesn’t. The next thing is to figure my life out. I’ve been given a year to do that before I have to “get a real job” and actually support my own pathetic tuchus. Last fall I released my first full-length album and a grand total of ten people bought it, so I’m going to try my hand at being a writer. I have a really excellent idea for a novel and I’ve already started it. I haven’t got too far into it, but I love where it’s going. Don’t worry, though, I’m not giving up on music. I will never give up on music.
This past week I have been kind of lazy because it turned out that my friend, who I thought was going to be staying in D.C. for the summer, is actually home until September. We’ve been hanging out, and five of us have been playing Dungeons and Dragons until ridiculous hours of the night. Last Thursday we stayed up to 5:00 on Friday morning. Basically I took between Thursday and today off to be useless and hang out. The thing is, one of my friends just got his GED and is stuck in his tracks again, one of my friends is taking classes and working at Starbucks, and one of my friends is just taking the summer off before another year of school. I don’t really feel like I can afford to be useless. I have to work; I have to write a book. Right now I’m just petrified of wasting time. I want to prove that I can be a productive working adult.
My mom has actually encouraged me to just take some time off, read what I want to, play D&D, take walks outside, and do some nothing. I won’t lie. That sounds really appealing. The problem is that, if I get sucked into that, I’m worried I won’t be able to get myself out and a year will have gone by. I’m probably overreacting. I’m probably too worried. My friends are actually starting to make it hard for me to not take some time off, and I’ve been working around them, so I think I’ll be okay.
It just seems so strange to be telling people that I graduated. Passed tense. Behind me. Finished. Done. I had only half wanted to go to college in the first place. Somehow Gordon ended up being at least a temporary second home. I didn’t really make many friends in my four years, and the ones I did make were professors. In my Freshman year I befriended a girl who was two years ahead of me, and she moved to Europe, then to New York. This past year I somehow befriended a boy, really by a series of awkward accidents who has a semester to go before he graduates. I won’t see him this summer, but he’ll be around next semester and will play D&D with us. For the record, it was his idea.
The near future is very uncertain. For the past four years, it has seemed like everything was as it should be. In and out of school; taking summers off; being nerdy; not worrying. I can’t do that anymore. I actually have to think about my future now. I actually have to be responsible for myself. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I now have to make things happen as opposed to letting them happen to me. There’s always been an obvious next step; a next thing to do, or at least a next obvious choice. I don’t feel like that is anymore. Maybe some might find that liberating, and I wish I did because it would seem a lot braver, but I guess I’m really not that brave when it comes to the future.
Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!