Goodbye, College (Sort Of)
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Goodbye, College (Sort Of)

Tomorrow's my last day of classes. What next?

Goodbye, College (Sort Of)
Zak Erickson

This isn't exactly my final goodbye to Fordham University. Finals extend into the beginning of May, and (I guess someday) I and all the other students who were living on campus will be returning to pick up the belongings that we left behind in our rooms. And I certainly hope to visit Fordham in the future. It still feels wild, though: the spring semester's classes end tomorrow, and here we are, in the middle of the coronapocalypse.

When I studied abroad, I felt very much like I went to another world and came back. That's an easy thing for me to say: in my case, it happened to be my first time leaving the U.S., and I also happened to be going somewhere at the opposite end of the world. I suppose that, as a writer, I tend to look at things schematically, to take stock of beginnings and endings, to attribute symbolism to different events. Life is chaotic, I suppose, but we make sense of it by noting perceived symmetries.

When I first came to campus as a freshman, it was late August 2016, and, since I was there for a local service program, I was there before most other freshmen arrived on campus. I'm now finishing my senior year at home, while campus is, in fact, largely deserted, as it was then. It's very easy to think of the whole coronavirus experience as an immense silence, a huge nothingness, an odd period of waiting. It reminds me, for one thing, of the day when I was in Buenos Aires and the electricity unexpectedly went out. It was a gray day, and it was something else sitting in my room and listening to the rain knowing that power was out all over the country and no one knew why. Living in coronavirus feels like that, like being in the eye of a storm. On the other hand, it feels like all of this is a fitting way to end college, a symmetrical way. I didn't expect it, but it feels fitting, in its own way.

I feel like, when I began college, I began a new life. (My high school self certainly seems like it ceased to be ages ago.) This is all a very apocalyptic way of talking, and the current era certainly feels apocalyptic. It's a dramatic way to end my time at Fordham; I'll certainly never forget it. But I wouldn't have forgotten it in the first place anyway.

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