I'm A Senior In College And I'm Actually Looking Forward To Saying Goodbye To The University I Love
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I'm A Senior In College And I'm Actually Looking Forward To Saying Goodbye To The University I Love

Lately, I just don't feel like I belong.

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University of Illinois Main Quad in Fall

It is the middle of October, and I will be graduating from college a semester early in the middle of December. Since I made the decision to officially go through with early graduation in April, I'd been pretty sad about it. It's sad to cut time out of "the best years of your life" and it's very scary to start true adulthood—I just don't feel like I'm ready for a nine-to-five and making life-changing decisions on my own.

This semester, even though it's been unlike anything I could have predicted for my last semester of college, I've taken extra time to soak it all in. I (safely) look around a little more when I'm driving my car through campus, I've taken notice of the beautiful fall colors on my walk to my one and only in-person class, and I'm hitting up my favorite restaurants and bars on campus one last time, just in case I don't come back for a while.

As I'm doing this, I'm finding that I don't quite feel like I belong anymore. I see freshmen walking around campus, exploring their new world for the first time. I can't stand the noise coming from other apartments anymore because I just want to go to bed by midnight. I drive through the side of campus where I lived for the first two years of my undergraduate career, and it just feels like a fond, distant memory.

I didn't expect to feel this way. I wanted to feel sad and like I was losing a part of me. Because I am. I'm saying goodbye to the first part of my life I've chosen for myself. I'm leaving the place where I've had my highest highs and my lowest lows. I'm parting ways with the place that turned me into who I am today. I'm supposed to hate that I'm leaving... right? I'm not supposed to want to go.

Suddenly though, without me even realizing it was happening, I prepared myself to go. Living in a pandemic probably helped me get to this place a little bit faster than I would have if the world was still normal, but I think this time eventually comes around for everyone. I guess I just didn't expect it to come around for me so quickly. I (kind of) have a plan for the next chapter of my life and I'm actually excited for it, as difficult as it may be to say goodbye to what I've known for so long. As difficult as this is to realize and now put into words, I know I don't belong as an undergraduate on my campus anymore. It's time to move on, and even if I'm not sure if I'm ready, what I am sure of is that I can take this next step, whether I'm ready or not.

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