I have a perfect view of the New York City skyline from my window at school. Most nights, I can see the lights on the buildings. That’s how close I am to the city. So since I’ve been back at school, every night before I go to bed, I spend a few minutes looking out my window at the city. I wonder about where I’ll be a year from now (let’s be real, six months from now—YIKES). Where will I be living, will I be working where I want to, will my daily routine be radically different then than it is now? (That better be a yes, otherwise I’m squatting on some college campus spending my days going to classes I’m not registered for and pretending I’m an RA.) At night, when I can see those lights, all of those questions morph. During the day, they’re slightly panicked, stressful questions that make me a little insane—okay, maybe more than a little. But at night, they’re hopeful and optimistic. The thing about graduating from college is that your whole life is lying open in front of you, ready for you to make of it what you will. It’s ready for all of your mistakes and your successes, the plans you’ve made and the twists and turns that wreck your plans—everything that makes life life. Sometimes, that emptiness and freedom are scary to me. But when I remind myself to think this way, it’s really exciting and exhilarating.
I’ve been thinking about this a LOT lately because this week I start my last semester of college. Monday was my last first day of school. Spring 2017, the semester I’ve thought, talked, and dreamed about for the last four years (if not more), is finally here. To be honest, I’m living it and it still doesn’t seem quite real. But I’ll tell you one thing: it’s pretty terrifying. Exciting, happy, relieving, and wonderful, but also daunting. And it’s been making me think about identity. Not my name, where I’m from, what I do, etc. (all of which you can find on my About page—shameless plug!), but what makes me who I am and all of that kind of stuff. While I have many identities in that sense of the word, one of my biggest and most central is being a student. For almost all of my life, I’ve been a student. And come May, I won’t be anymore. I KNOW, it’s weird. As someone who has always (for the most part) enjoyed school and learning (although I could do without the tests and the homework and the papers and… okay, there’s a lot of school I don’t like), this has been a really strange thought for me lately. Unlike a lot of my friends, I have no plans to go on to graduate school. After May, I will no longer be a student who has to go to school or take classes or do homework (that part is a HUGE relief). I’ve been a student for 17 years and I can only imagine that taking away an identity of that magnitude will leave a hole. Of course, new identities will fill the hole as I go through life. I’ll become an employee, an editor, maybe even a wildly successful blogger (have you told your friends about how funny I am yet? No? Oh, okay), and who knows what else! And of course, just because I’m no longer a student in the traditional sense of the word doesn’t mean that I’ll ever stop learning and growing; I have absolutely no intentions of stopping that ever. But, I think a piece of me will always miss that traditional student part of my identity that was so important for so long. Which is what makes me so happy I don’t have to give it up… at least, not yet.
Whether I’m ready for it or not (spoiler alert: I’m not), second semester senior year is here, I am graduating in less than four month, and it’s going to be great, regardless of what happens.