Friday, April 20, 2012

Graduation With a Hint of Nostalgia

Two weeks ago today I woke up in a tornado of a half packed room. I wandered around the kitchen giving partial attention to the stove I was supposed to be cleaning while trying to squeeze in some last minute studying for my very last final. I finally gave up, assuming I would fail, and went off to the testing center. By some miracle I managed a 98 on the test, and I was done. It was snowing so I ran home without celebration. I opened the door to the half empty apartment that had been my home for a semester and just started screaming. I jumped on couches. I cried. I laid on my back and kicked my legs up and down. I hugged my roommate. But mostly I just alternated between shouting "I'm done!" "98!" and other random screaming.


Alex Zeller, Anna Attebury, Christopher Swanberg

Ruth Arnell

I graduated. One more time, I graduated. I put on some funny looking robes and I dressed them up with high heels and lots of red, white, and black. I joked with dear friends. I listened to a speech in which I was labeled a "Viking Warrior" and got a bit teary eyed. I hugged a woman who I greatly admire as she told me that my senior paper blew her away. That simple comment filled my whole body with hope and provided that little boost of confidence one needs before they take the world head on. I walked across a stage, was handed an empty diploma envelope, took some pictures, and that was it. I was...I am done.

I spent the rest of the weekend packing up and saying goodbye to family and friends in Rexburg; and letting all the graduationy feelings sink in. It's strange to think that I won't make any more hikes to the Ricks building. I will no longer craft the perfect schedule to make sure I have at least one class with Duane, Ruth, and Trent, and that gone are the days of prefacing each of their surnames with Brother or Sister. I have lost my venue for overly loud rants about administration blunders, men, and poverty. In honesty, I feel slightly lost. I now live with this sort of hole in my heart that close friends and mentors used to fill with intelligent conversation/debate, uplifting and encouraging ideas, reading and music recommendations, and phenomenal comedic relief. It's just strange. For years the Ricks building was my home then one little strut across a stage and *poof* it's gone.

I'll miss my dear friends and roommates. I'll miss my professors. I'll miss class debates. I'll miss Pi Sigma Alpha and simulations. I'll miss the constant learning. I'll miss the feeling of endless opportunity. I'll miss a lot of things, but, let's be real, I'm also glad it's over. The feeling of accomplishment is almost intoxicating. There were so many times that I almost gave up, or transferred, or changed my major just one more time; but in the end everything worked out just the way it was supposed to. I'm going to steal from my friend Charles (Dickens that is) and say "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us."
please ignore the alien eyes

I'm so glad that my family was there to share in this special time with me. They're all incredibly busy and for them to take time from their schedules to celebrate this achievement meant a lot. They helped me pack, they took a lot (a lot!) of pictures so that I have precious memories, they took me to a fancy dinner over looking the Salt Lake City LDS Temple, and before I knew it the weekend was over and they were gone. I'm very fortunate to have a family full of strong and motivating people. Their company and conversation reminded me that I have much to do and become now that my undergrad days are over. I'm excited for the new paths my life is capable of taking. I hope the sense of passion that was my constant companion throughout college will do nothing but grow stronger as I take all the things I've learned both in and out of classrooms and make my place in the world. I hope I make changes for the better, however small they may be.