A week ago today, I graduated from college. It still feels a little crazy to think that, let alone write it down. Four years of my life have been spent in the same place, doing basically the same things every week. Losing that feeling of stability has sent me reeling a little.
The actual moment of graduating, as I walked across the stage, passed by in the blink of an eye and looking back I barely remember it, not even the emotions I must have been feeling. I vividly remember only a few things:
- Sipping tea from smuggled in tea cups with a couple friends while debating the logistics of delivering a cup of tea to the president of the university as we walked across the stage
- Cheering on the other graduates
- Texting my sister (who unfortunately couldn’t attend, due to living in Sweden) about the extremely capitalistic keynote speech
- Desperately trying to locate my family in the crowd of onlookers
These things might not seem like the most important parts of graduation to an average onlooker but to me they exemplify my time in college and my personal priorities perfectly. I won’t remember homework problems, test questions, most moments in every day lectures, or even a lot of people I only kind of knew. I might not remember specific days in class, nights I stayed up too late, random mornings hanging out with people, days lingering in Chauvenet Hall, or a lot of the feelings of stress and frustration I experienced. However, the things that I know for sure I will remember are the incredible friends I made, the professors who taught me so much, about math but also about life in general, the members of the administration that helped me reach incredible heights but were also so friendly and approachable about everything, and my family who have supported me throughout every moment in my life.
Luckily, I had an amazing group of family and friends that supported me through all of my college years. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them. Even graduation, a single day, wouldn’t have been possible without them. They helped keep the, almost overwhelming, feeling of freedom from sending me completely careening. When I sit for too long by myself, or in the company of others, where I can just think for a moment about what this huge change means for my life, it feels more than a little overwhelming. However, I’m doing my best to focus on the excitement and potential for my future because there is no point in lingering in fear.
As the next new phase of my life begins, I welcome it with open arms but I also try to remain aware of where I have come from and how my past experiences have shaped my life and who I am now. Every moment of our lives is a chance to grow, learn, and become the person that we want to be. I will strive to remember that as I live each moment to the fullest because (as far as I know) I have only one life to enjoy.