When you’re in first year, everyone tells you flunking one class won’t be a huge deal, and by second year, they tell you to take a smaller course load if you think it’ll help you get a higher average. They’ll tell you to take time off and don’t fear missing a term for a bereavement leave because you have to take the time to heal. But what they won’t tell you is how hard it is to say goodbye to all of your friends and your boyfriend after they graduate, when you still have a couple of years left.
This isn’t the first time in my university experience that I’ve had to say some tough goodbyes. It feels like every year I get close to a group of wonderful people who then end up graduating come April and starting their lives. Every time, there’s only one thing that stays constant:
I’m still here.
...very much so, not starting my life. I feel like my motivation to be in school and embrace the fun ‘best time of my life’ motto fades every September when I have to pick myself up and start fresh. It becomes embarrassing walking into second year classes feeling like I don’t have anyone to turn to or gossip about the prof with. I guess to sum it up, it can feel like you’re pretty far behind, even though you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Those friends that made me fall in love with my new university town, stayed up all night with me when I was sad, and carried me home when I’d had too much to drink, they’re gone now. But one thing I must stay optimistic about is that my time isn’t up yet. My alarm clock is still ticking naturally for at least a year before I have to hit snooze, and I shouldn’t be springing out into the world before I’m ready. It’s time to enjoy those last few months in my comfy, carefree life where I most definitely don’t have to be up for a 9-5 job or stay late filing client information. As much as I’ll miss the people who helped me find who I am, I won’t always need those upper class friends to mentor me or to make me feel a part of something.
I could now be that friend to someone new.
And if you’re like me, remember, your friends aren’t gone gone; It’s never truly a goodbye. No matter how near or far, you’ll find your way to these friends, because you all mean so much more than 4 years to one another. You’ll celebrate successes, promotions, engagements, and all the good times in the coming years. But you’ll also still drive through the night to be there for the failed tests, lost loved ones, and arguments with your boyfriends. Your new paths will find their ways back, even if it means making a few unnecessary detours along the way.
So I’m here, sitting in my student house, wondering when it’ll be my turn to take my next steps. But I’m not as helpless as I once was, and I’m beginning to see things a little differently. There is no set time for how long you’re supposed to take in school before graduating, and there’s no road map for the unexpected potholes you’re going to encounter along the way. Life has a really funny way of working itself out, and you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be when you’re ready for it.
Featured image via Krissy Saleh.