Today I drove back to school for the last time.
It's come to that point in the year that everything has a timestamp on it, it's the last of everything.
It's the last St. Patrick's Day in college. It's the last sorority date function I'll go to. It's the last time I'll pull an all-nighter in my favorite seat in the library. It's the last time I'll struggle to stay awake during my 9 a.m. class.
The whole past year I've been using this technique to avoid the looming graduation date. All I do is push the feelings under the rug and move onto a different topic. And on my trek back to school, I realized that there wasn't anymore room underneath the rug.
I tried to keep my '96 Corolla on the winding road as reality crashed around me. I started looking around frantically, trying to hoard memories of the suddenly monumental drive. I'm sure I looked like a drunk driver swerving all over the road, eyes watering, wailing to myself to remember things. I even put on my teen angst playlist to really rub salt into the wound.
It's a strange sensation knowing that such a huge chapter of your life is about to end. It's not a "calm before the storm" feeling. It's more of a "The boat is currently sinking and there's nothing I can do about it" feeling. I bet this is how Jonah felt when he was getting swallowed by that whale. If God asked me if I either wanted to get swallowed by a whale or graduate, I would ask him "humpback or blue whale, my friend?"
I've been a student for 19 years of my life. My life schedule has been dictated by semesters for 19 years of my life. I don't know if I'll be able to keep track of the year otherwise. Graduation means goodbye to these segmented years. I'll say goodbye to that feeling at the end of August when school supplies come out in Target, and Chegg emails you 500 times to get your outrageously priced books for your class. Soon those mechanical pencils and fresh new spiral notebooks won't be for me.
I know, the best has yet to come, but there's something in the fact that this graduation is so hard to swallow. It's like that Winnie the Pooh quote that almost every girl that graduates will put on her cap, "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." College has been so much more than just classes. College has been so much more than crowded frat parties and unnecessary keg stands. College has been so much more than messy heartbreaks and equally messy spring breaks. College has shaped me into the person I am today, and I've got to be honest, I really like her. Coming out of high school, I thought I knew everything, which is unlike any other high school senior in the world. What I didn't know then is that I had so much growing to do, growing that would happen in the next four years. As much as I don't want to admit it, College has turned me into an adult. Maybe a barely functioning one, but still an adult.
So as I'm rounding third base, getting ready to slide into home, there's nothing you can say to me that's going to make this process less sad. But I can say this, I'm leaving college content. My relationships and experiences are unlike any other, and I'm determined to not make these last few weeks any different.
Here's to the lasts and making them just as great as the firsts.