I must admit, I don’t know how to feel about having graduated a year ago. Part of me thinks, “A year? Already?” but another part goes, “It’s felt like ages since you’ve been in college.” I’ve been trying to think of a word to best sum up how I feel - nostalgia? sadness? disbelief (at how fast time goes)? But I don’t know if I can find the right word for it. Photos of commencement are pasted all over my social media feeds. But it feels like a distant memory that only a year ago I stood in those shoes, wearing my gown and wondering how four years went by so damn fast.
But: I don’t know if I miss college. I miss it in the way you miss that vacation you had with your best friends, the fond memories with your family at the holidays, the way you miss a friend who you no longer have ties with. But I don't miss it in the sense that I want to go back and keep it going.
Sure, it’s been an adjustment to post-grad, but I think I like it (gasp). I like not having homework and leaving my work at work. I like having total control over my schedule (what I’m doing outside of work and when), not running around stressed about organizations or projects, and being on my own. I do miss being near all of my friends, Nashville, and the constant learning in the classroom setting. I have learned a lot of new skills and things through work and living though; it’s just a bit different of a format than the ‘sit down in a classroom and receive a lecture’ one.
How have I changed since college?
My mother asked me this recently. As with my emotions about ‘one year after graduating’, it’s hard for me to verbalize how (if at all) I have changed. I think, perhaps, certain qualities of my personality have been augmented: my autonomy, my drive, my strategic thinking, my intuition. I think I’ve also realized what is important to me and learned to make those things a priority: friendship, family, and the ongoing desire to become the best version of myself. My fundamental core has not changed; if anything it's been enhanced.
Recently I read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I loved how direct and concise it was, and I will most definitely be reading it again - the book serves a s a practical guide to personal freedom, as touted on the cover. A certain passage stuck out at me when thinking about my anniversary of college graduation:
“If you live in a past dream, you don’t enjoy what is happening right now because you will always wish it to be different than it is. There is no time to miss anyone or anything because you are live. Not enjoying what is happening right now is living in the past and being only half alive. This leads to self-pity, suffering, and tears.”
Last night I was chatting with a friend. We agreed that college was four years we will forever cherish and look back on with fond nostalgia. But it’s just that. It’s no longer the “right now”, so dwelling back on it will do me no good. I can look back on college with the gratitude for what it taught me, brought into my life, and molded me to be. Now, it’s time to live in the present.