Me and my dad, who has given me every opportunity and allowed me to diverge from the beaten path. Love you, Nanna. Notice the spectacles in my right hand.
However, when I do something, I evidently do it in style. So I graduated an entire year early, much to my own shock. I lived in denial for a few months, coming up with dozens of alternate plans that involved me staying in college longer. Ultimately, the prospect of not being a student after fifteen years (not even counting my Montessori days) was too tempting. Deciding to switch from my Honors English major to an English minor was considerably harder, but the right decision for me. Donning that gown a year earlier than my fellow juniors was strange - it was rather lonely on that stage. Apart from my family being there, the whole ceremony was rather underwhelming. There was no grand commencement speech, no 'this is it' moment. I even nodded off during one of the speeches after the stress of finals week.
But just like college is more than the sum of its academic parts, graduation is more than the ceremony and certificate. It's a huge milestone.
Graduation means facing a world without timetables, exams, classes - without an overarching structure to fall into - for the first time since we were three or four years old. This love-hate relationship with the restrictions of academic life turns into alarm at the sudden liberation from mandates. Unless you plan to go directly to graduate school (I don't), the freedom that seemed so delightful when paper deadlines were looming suddenly becomes rather threatening. What am I if not a student?
It's time to find out.
Stay tuned to this space for more.