I’m sitting in an armchair in Florida, with a spaniel at my heels, sunburn on my chest, toes open in sandals, and my phone in a bowl of rice after jumping in the ocean in my clothes. If this is what it means to be a college graduate, I’m okay with that.
It still hasn’t hit me. The only moments when I really feel it is after spending time with a good friend, that moment before goodbye, and realizing we don’t know when we’ll see eachother again. I’m not one for sappy goodbyes. A lot of people think I would be, but I just can’t handle them. All that emotion and vulnerability. I’ll get there in my own time, but not in front of everyone I know.
I thought for sure I’d be a mess after the ceremony. I even made absolute sure to get waterproof mascara from my sister. But I was running mostly on adrenaline and sleep deprivation and coffee. And I had to pee like nobody’s business. They urge you to stay hydrated but I almost think it’s not worth it.
More than anything, in the days preceding and once the adrenaline wore off after, I’ve been reflective rather than emotional. Donning that cap and fluttering gown was symbolic of a lot of things. The end of my formal education (for now), the beginning of total financial independence, the end of my friends living just across the street instead of just across town. It’s the end of exams, final papers, and early morning lectures. It’s also the end of casually running into people. From now on it will take effort and money to see my friends. And though many don’t want to admit it, it’s also the end of putting on face for some people you may rather not.
More importantly, it’s a beginning. It’s the beginning of adulthood. It’s the beginning of manning my own education. It’s the beginning of me taking the helm of my life and making it what I want it to be. It’s the beginning of new friends, new places, and new opportunities.
It’s the beginning of the beginning. And boy am I excited.
Let the wandering begin.