With school starting again I’ve been feeling a little blue. And over the last week I realized why.
No one ever tells you how strange it is to graduate from college.
When I “graduated” from elementary school I thought: “Yes! Finally. I’m going to be a teenager, and do lots of fun things. I will have more than one class a day! I’m finally too grown up for recess. And most importantly I am one step closer to high school and getting the heck out of this state!”
However, I soon realized middle school was hell. I basically think thought it was my personal purgatory before finally advancing to to high school. So when I graduated from middle school I thought “PRAISE JESUS! I’M OUTTA HERE! Bye bye uniform. Bye bye stupid people I don’t like. Bye bye teachers who get on my nerves and hello to the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Graduating from high school was the first time I felt like the “graduation” was an actual milestone. I was finally getting the heck out of the state and attending my top school to study my life-long interest and it was going to be great! All of the events and orientations and opportunities were right within my reach. I survived and my reward was getting one step closer to my dreams.
But I have to say as graduation from college approached…the same excitement I felt so many years prior was missing. True, I had nothing to look forward to. I didn’t have a job, hadn’t applied to grad school, didn’t have summer plans and had no way to pay the last two months of rent on my college apartment. I thought the stress and sadness just came with the fact that I was a goal driven person with no plan. But I now realize it is so much more.
Although I never really introduced myself as a student, being a student was my whole identity for about 18 years of my life. It defined my daily activities, my short term goals, my clothing choices, spending habits, everything. And now, I’m not THAT anymore. It’s a strange sensation. What do I do? What do I say I do? How to I act? What can I wear? Who am I?
Last night, I attended an alumni mixer/event for people in the tri-state area. Under normal circumstances, it wasn’t all that fun. But the fact that I got to see those familiar school colors, symbols, a few familiar faces and free dinner made it a good time. Most of the people there were about 5 years older and I posed this question to them: How do you adjust to not being a student anymore? Their answer? You don’t. So much for being older and wiser and providing some insight. Most went back to school for that very reason; they didn’t know how to not be a student anymore. Of course no one misses homework but they just plain ol’ missed being a student. I don’t plan to go back to school anytime soon, (and neither do my finances), but I hope before I do I get comfortable being whatever it is my new identity is. Being a student is great…but it doesn’t define me anymore, (other than the “I’m a student of life” way). I guess for right now I’m just an awesomely blessed person! And hopefully my back to school blues will disappear by Thanksgiving break.