After four years of endless all-nighters that often lead into the waxing morning hours and the venti iced coffees that supplied our veins with the lifeblood necessary to keep our heart pumping and eyes from dazing in class the next day. The inevitable mental breakdowns which cycled between wanting to change your major to wanting to drop out. The friendships made in the most unusual locations, i.e. frat house basements. And then the unforeseeable falling out of friendships and relationships that we thought at one point could survive it all.
Only for this cycle to repeat four times and hope that the bad times make you stronger and wiser. And that the good times help you appreciate living in the moment.
This is what makes college bittersweet.
And to top it all off—the cherry on top, so-to-speak, we are told to move our tassel from the right side of our graduation cap to the left side.
As we have been taught by society, this moving of the tassel is a symbolic gesture of receiving a degree and changing directions in life. However, for me, this moment was more than a societal understanding. This was everything I had worked for, day in and day out, to receive a paper that conferred my thousands of hours of learning, studying, taking tests, talking to professors, responding to emails... the list goes on.
It was not until Dr. Gergen, Director of Biology at Stony Brook University, said, "Graduates, you may now move your tassels to the left side," that I simply broke out in a flood of tears. Only to soon realize that the alphabetical seating arrangements placed me next to people I had never once seen in my classes. Who were, inevitably, not crying.
Often times, we go through life feeling alone, hopeless, and scared. How was it that in a moment of pure bliss for others, I felt more anxious and afraid than anyone I could see around me?
Looking back, I realize that it was the bittersweet moments of life like turning a tassel at commencement that makes life's greatest moments the most incredible and irreplicable.